Special operations in the mountainous canton

The Swiss canton of Uri is known for its unique landscape of snow-covered mountains, narrow valleys, picturesque lakes, and the longest railway tunnel in the world - the Gotthard Base Tunnel. For the canton's fire department, this type of environment presents a significant challenge. In dealing with this, it relies on the operational management tool EMEREC.

The mountainous canton of Uri covers just over 1,000 km2 in central Switzerland, the same as the operational area of the Chemiewehr Uri. Besides the topographical conditions and a few large industrial plants, it is above all the many tunnels that pose particular challenges for operations. Due to the difficult accessibility of some locations, it is particularly important to be able to quickly access all relevant information. Particularly the potential dangers posed by freight transport must not be underestimated.

Special organization for special tasks

The Chemiewehr Uri differs in some respects from other fire departments. Its operational area covers the entire canton, and not just a municipality, city, or district. It can be deployed in atomic, biological, and chemical (so-called ABC) operations throughout the canton. Accordingly, the Chemiewehr Uri is also much more extensive and specialized than fire departments. "Basically, we are equipped for all ABC events. Special attention is paid to the potential dangers that exist on the north-south axis, both on the road and on the rail track," says Co-Commander Walter Imholz. Above all, the many kilometers of road and railway tunnels pose a major challenge for the emergency response organizations. And it is not just the Gotthard mountain - through which the longest railway tunnel in the world runs - that is full of subterranean traffic routes under the Swiss Alps.

EMEREC: Useful in any deployment

The EMEREC operational management system is used by the Chemiewehr Uri for a number of reasons. A separate work folder is created for each assignment, in which all relevant data is collected. All necessary information can be called up in the shortest possible time: action plans for various objects in the operational area, a comprehensive electronic hazard database, a current electronic representation of the situation, and much more. This work folder can be synchronized across all crews involved in the deployment. "So all relevant information and data is quickly available to all," says Co-Commander Walter Imholz.

Effective communication

Through the automatic exchange between the dispatcher on scene and the entire operational leadership, important information is transmitted. Radio and telephone traffic can thus be significantly relieved. EMEREC also facilitates communication, for example, in the Gotthard Base Tunnel, between the operational leader inside the tunnel and the person at its northern entrance. The communication can take place in both directions: the head of operations can gain an up-to-date overview of the situation at the scene of the emergency. If necessary, the crews deployed there are also provided with the necessary information, such as that on special hazards.

EMEREC is indispensable

Thanks to its modern hardware and sophisticated programming, EMEREC impresses with its ease of use and handling - both during operation as well as preparation and post processing. The EMEREC has become indispensable for the Chemiewehr Uri. The ability to quickly access and share the required information has already proven itself valuable in many demanding operations.