Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW)

THW is a federal German agency performing the following tasks:
  • Provide technical assistance within the framework of civil protection.
  • Provide technical assistance on behalf of the Federal Government of Germany.
  • Provide technical assistance within the framework of disaster control, public emergencies, and large-scale accidents at the request of the authorities in charge of hazard control, in particular in the field of recovery and repair.
  • Contribute actively to the field of security research

It is one of the most modern relief organisations in the world and participates in the worldwide intermeshing of all relief organisations as an internationally active operational organisation. Since it was founded in 1950, THW has grown into an essential part of Germany’s defences against all sorts of danger. Today as a competent partner, THW is assigned a sustaining role by the United Nations as well as in the European Union. As an agency within the Ministry of the Interior, THW fulfils this role competently both domestically and abroad.

THW can look back on thousands of missions: these included the reconstruction help in Afghanistan on behalf of the German government, medium-term rebuilding after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, general support of the United Nations or search and rescue missions for the victims of earthquakes.

99% of THW’s 80,000 members are volunteers. When it comes to establishing the credentials of a modern operational organisation, the qualification of its experts is of primary importance. In THW this is enhanced by the solid integration into a domestic and international network of requesters and cooperation partners. The technology has to keep in step with the advancing state of development and the THW units have to be assembled in an up-to-date manner.

THW has adhered to this process in the past years, since the conceivable disaster scenarios have changed. Natural disasters on a large scale no longer occur once a millennium, the threats posed by international terrorism have to be considered to an extent that was previously unimaginable, and the management of the consequences of civil wars, etc. requires substantial joint efforts by different states. Since 2014, THW has been actively taking part in national as well as EU safety & security research efforts. In order to facilitate and channel research efforts, a Staff Unit Research and Innovation Management has been installed at THW Headquarters. The produced research results directly influence THW’s overall strategy for the upcoming decades.

THW’s role in the project:

THW will lead the work package for the final demonstrations as it believes that only end-users can generate the most relevant results in these final demonstrations to ensure a high uptake afterwards. THW will contribute its expertise in underwater/diver based operations by designing the training data generation concept as well as the field tests and final demonstration. Further, it will use its network to communicate and disseminate the results. Members of its diving units will be actively involved in all use case 1 related activities.