- Capital: Vienna
- Population: 8.2 million
- Language: German
- Fire and rescue services, Civil Protection and Disaster Response are mainly voluntary based (85%, except major cities). The two leading organizations are: Austrian Fire Brigade and Austrian Red Cross
- 9 provinces are legally responsible for coordinating the operations
- Federal Ministry of Interior coordinates civil protection arrangements
- federal and provincial alarm centres and “National Crisis and Disaster Protection Management” (SKKM) assist supra-regional incidents
- disaster relief and alerting plans exist for federal, provincial, district and local authorities
- legislation covers planning and response arrangements; scope of action is assigned to individual relief organizations
- Austrian Army – if asked by Federal Provinces – can provide assistance and will report to civilian authorities
- psycho-social acute support teams have been established, mainly by the Austrian Red Cross.
Austrian Red Cross
- Federal Red Cross Law defines status and tasks of the Austrian Red Cross as being to : Carry out decisions of the International Red Cross Conferences, acting as a voluntary humanitarian organisation and auxiliary to the public authorities and to providing tracing service (the law grants the Austrian Red Cross access to personal data)
- Largest humanitarian aid organisation in Austria
- Largest provider of EMS and ambulance service as well as psychosocial support
- Main actor in Austria's Civil Society as first responder
- The competence of the Austrian Red Cross is Voluntary Management, Disaster Management and Strategies and Lobbying
- Disaster relief and Emergency Medical Service falls under the responsibility of the nine Provinces (Bundesländer) in Austria. Red Cross is recognised by provincial laws and integrated part of Disaster/Crisis Management system in the field of:
o Rescue Service and Emergency Medical Service
o Psychosocial support
o CBRN decontamination of injured people
o Humanitarian Aid (water purification, food, sheltering, field kitchen, etc.)
Voluntarism - The Austrian Model of Rescue, Fire, and Disaster Relief Servicers
- A fundamental pillar for the realisation of Rescue, Fire and Disaster Relief services in Austria are the voluntary organisations, such as the Austrian Fire Brigade or the Austrian Red Cross. In addition to approx. 40,000 volunteers in the rescue organisations, there are no less than 350,000 qualified voluntary fire fighters available in the Austrian fire brigade. Within the volunteer's organisations effective reaction mechanisms like command control structures, leadership procedures, decentralised alarm plans as well as suitable infrastructure have been set up following the principle of self government and self responsibility.
- The most essential element for coping with disasters, but also dealing with EMS or fire services is the principle of subsidiarity. This principle says, that, for example, measures which concern a municipality should be solved by it independently. Only when the municipality is running out of resources for a proper reaction to a disaster situation, the next higher level of administration (district) should be asked for help. The next higher level for help is the state level (Bundesland) and finally – when Austria is affected by a nation-wide disaster, the federal level starts to coordinate the activities.
- Therefore, in disaster relief operations the authority in Austria intervenes only as a co-ordinating, co-operating and informing actor, and orders as a last consequence measures for the protection of the victims. At district state and federal level platforms of the essential actors have been developed, where the main actors meets regularly both, preventively and when needed. Additionally common exercises are being held several times a year on each administrative level.
- At the federal level National Crisis and Disaster Protection Management (SKKM) was established as a part of the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) in 2004. The MoI, Austrian federal army, two representatives of the states as well as the Austrian Fire brigade association and the Austrian Red Cross are permanent members in the steering committee.