IRG excursion to institutions of civil protection and disaster prevention in Hamburg and Kiel

Foto HAW Hamburg2

(c) TH Köln/HAW Hamburg

A team of 25 students and several staff members from the Institute of Rescue Engineering and Civil Protection (IRG) at TH Köln including Prof. Alexander Fekete have carried out an excursion to Kiel and Hamburg from June 7-9, 2016. The main goal was to get a first-hand impression of civil protection and disaster prevention in science, practice and in governance structures in the North of Germany.


(c) TH Köln

It allowed to link topics discussed in the courses at the IRG with practical challenges and strategies in a geographic region in Germany, which is of high economic and strategic importance. The topics discussed comprised storm surges and dike control at German coasts and the Elbe River, logistics of large harbours and canals as well as the resilience of the electric grid system and other critical infrastructures in a large city like Hamburg.

Besides the visits to the Ministry of Interior of Schleswig Holstein in Kiel as well as Hamburg Port Authority and Hamburg Wasser, this excursion enabled a direct exchange with the staff and students of the courses Rescue Engineering and Hazard Control at HAW Hamburg. Students and lecturers from both Cologne and Hamburg were able to exchange ideas on challenges of civil protection today and the demands for related professional and scientific education and research at universities for the future.


(c) TH Köln

The team of IRG at TH Köln gives thanks to all the visited institutions and experts in Kiel and Hamburg as well as to the students, who actively participated and shaped this excursion.

For further information on the excursion, please contact Christiane Grinda (christiane.grinda(at)


Student exkursion to the Ahr valley

On June 1st 2016 the Risk ‘n’ Crisis team visited together with 40 students of the Institute of Rescue Engineering and Civil Protection the former bunker of the federal government. The so called “Alternative Accommodation of the Constitutional Organs of the Federal Republic of Germany in a Period of Crisis and wartime” is situated in the valley of the river Ahr and has been the most top secret building in the history of the federal Republic of Germany


Moreover, we were welcomed by the Academy for Crisis Management, Emergency Planning and Civil Protection (AKNZ) which is the central educational institution of the federal state regarding risk and crisis management, and regarding civil protection.


We thank all experts for their very interesing presentations!

Large-scale survey on aid and recovery after extreme events

Dear RisknCrisis-Visitors

We are inviting you to participate in a large-scale survey on aid and recovery after extreme events.

Disasters such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, the earthquake in Haiti 2010, or many other so-called natural hazards (also cyclones, floods etc.) do not only attract worldwide attention but also domestic as well as foreign aid in different forms. A few months or years after a disaster however this attention and aid decreases, as the mandates of humanitarian organizations end and the media attention switches to other places or topics.

With this survey we wish to generate an overview to which extent these different forms of domestic and foreign aid were satisfying from the point of view of those persons who helped.

Aid can come in different forms to a disaster stricken community; search and rescue teams, people organising the logistics from abroad or, crowd sourced even from their home office. Consultants of NGOs, government, private sector and individuals, affected or not affected all belong to a world-wide community of people involved in aid and recovery after severe events such as a tsunami, cyclone or earthquake. The goods and services offered to improve immediate situations can vary strongly and the length of the recovery phase can be extended up to decades. Small-scale provision of food and water, but also large-scale housing projects or hazard barriers, just as less physical services like knowledge or donations all belong to disaster aid and recovery.

Click here to start the survey.

This web-based survey is completely anonymous and your data will be handled with care. The results will be published online on this webiste and in a peer-reviewed article.

The survey takes about 15 minutes time and will run until July 18th.

The TH Köln is a publicly funded university of applied sciences based in Cologne, Germany. We assure that we have no intention in making any economic profit and will not sell this data to third parties.

Thank you for your interest and feel welcome to distribute this email to other interested people.

In case you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at or

Best wishes from Cologne,

Prof. Dr. Alexander Fekete, Christiane Grinda, Celia Norf

Alexander Fekete (Prof. Dr.) : Risk and Crisis Management
Technology Arts Sciences

TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences)

Risky Monday: Medair

On May 23rd the national coordinator of Medair in Germany Romy Schneider lectured on the role of modern technologies in the field of humanitarian aid and presented practical examples that illustrate challenges and opportunities of these technologies for emergency relief and recoverySchneider_RiskyMonday

The flyer, the presentation and the overview of all sessions you can find here:


TH Köln_RiskyMonday_Schneider_Vortrag


The Risky Monday takes places on a regulary basis at the TH Köln University of Applied Sciences, campus Deutz in room ZS8-8 (south wing, floor 8, room 8). For further information please contact Celia Norf (celia.norf(at) and have a look at our events page.

Risky Monday: Dräger

On Monday, AIMG_1417pril 25th from 5.30 – 7.00 pm Magnus Magnusson und Martin Nesemann from Dräger Safety AG & Co. KGaA presented insights into the field of safety technology with special regard to rental and safety services. Via practical examples they illustrated technical and logistical challenges as well as opportunities for effective security measures for heavy engineering industries.

The Risky Monday takes places on a regular basis at the TH Köln University of Applied Sciences, campus Deutz in room ZS8-8 (south wing, floor 8, room 8). For further information please contact Celia Norf (celia.norf(at) and have a look at our events page.

New session of Risky Monday

The TH Köln University of Applied Sciences – Institute of Rescue Engineering and Civil Protection – welcomed students and external visitors to a new session of Risky Monday, the lecture series on interdisciplinary risk and crisis management.

On Monday, April 4th from 5.30 – 7.00 pm Dipl.-Ing. Peter Fischer from the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) lectured on the protection of the water supply, including ensuring drinking water security in case of extreme events.

WP_20160404_001The Risky Monday takes places on a regular basis at the TH Köln University of Applied Sciences, campus Deutz in room ZS8-8 (south wing, floor 8, room 8). For further information please contact Celia Norf (celia.norf(at) and have a look at our events page.



How to communicate disaster resilience – demands for knowledge management in civil protection

Abstract presented at the symposium “Educational landscapes in rural areas: Interdisciplinary and international research perspectives“ 22. March 2016 in Lüneburg, Leuphana University

Especially crises and disasters perpetually provide novel insights and carry a ‚surprise factor’. The public, media and responsible organisations are then confronted with the burden to explain how it could happen, why it was unforeseen and what will be done immediately to deal and manage situations. Crisis situations affecting the whole of today’s media society are as diverse as ranging from suicidal plane crashes, tsunami affected nuclear power plants to economic and war-inflicted humanitarian crises. It should be no surprise that such crises carry elements of surprise, but the public demand for causal explanations, the full set of information at an instant, are actually overwhelming for experts to answer. Lack of information and lack of knowledge is not always the problem. During the following investigation processes, precursor events often turn up, and previously established but then forgotten knowledge has to be painstakingly re-collected by those who seek explanations or are in the role of instructors, scientists or decision-makers dealing with such events. There clearly is a demand for better information and knowledge management, in order to better understand and communicate, but also, to avoid the reinvention of the wheel, so to speak.

TH Köln and University of Bonn currently investigate this phenomenon in a project dealing with knowledge management of civil protection authorities. The special focus of this project, the “Atlas of Vulnerability and Resilience”, is on two influential concepts. Resilience is one facet of security and societal processes, but it is also a major academic paradigm, vulnerability just as well. Another new project at TH Köln is BigWa: “Civil Protection within societal change – New interdisciplinary approaches and instruments for operational forces and the population” Demographic change is just one topic of an even broader societal change including in-migration to Germany, increased job-mobility and the effects of modern social media technologies, that all together reshape daily lives of emergency and disaster managers. Modern risk management and governance concepts such as resilience reshape traditional civil protection as well, and conceptual gaps between prevention and intervention concepts and instruments need to be scrutinised as well as interlinkages between urban and rural areas and populations.

How do experts working in civil protection, rescue and relief organisation, security-related industry and lay people communicate about resilience? How can such information be managed, structured and preserved in a way that in the next crisis with a surprise factor, existing knowledge can be accessed better? What types of ‘communities’ exist under the umbrella of ‘community resilience’ and do they reflect mobile societies appropriately? How can education be modernised and fitted to the needs of individuals and communities?