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Ludwigshafen

The annual Major Incident Drill at BASF 

The annual major incident drill at the Ludwigshafen site is a big event for everyone envolved - especially for the BASF emergency services. The excercises have been carried out for more than 30 years to train the cooperation of the emergency services at the BASF site in Ludwigshafen. Fire department, emergency medical services, site security, environmental monitoring and employee care team - they are all taken part. In a real emergency, all services have to work hand in hand. 

With the major incident drill, BASF is training for emergencies at its Ludwigshafen site and demonstrating how emergency medical services, site security, environmental monitoring, employee care team and fire department work together. The fire department trains how to carry out fire-fighting measures and human rescue. The site shows how to ensure the care of a large number of injured people. The supervisory authorities exercise how to provide with information in the case of an incident. BASF shows how operational know-how is used for emergency response. And how the press and neighbors around the site are informed.

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Eine Dichtung versagt, Gas tritt aus und verursacht einen Folgebrand – dieses Szenario stand im Mittelpunkt der 31. Großschadensalarmübung der BASF SE am 25. November. Einsatzort war erstmals die neue Acetylen-Anlage.

Interview with Gert van Bortel

Three questions for the Vice President BASF Emergency Response

Mr. Van Bortel, the major incident drill has been held since 1990. How did it all begin?

In 1990, the BASF Board of Executive Directors decided to conduct these exercises twice a year. The aim was to ensure that the site fire department, emergency medical services, environmental monitoring and site security are always be prepared for an emergency. The organizational basis of all major incident drills is the major emergency response plan put together in 1980 by BASF experts in collaboration with experts from the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the City of Ludwigshafen. This plan outlines all organizational and communicative steps to be taken in the event of an emergency.
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Gert van Bortel

Vice President BASF Emergency Response

The effort involved is enormous, with 100 emergency responders, 24 vehicles and 120 guests – what is the benefit of all this?

 Even though we have emergency response exercises almost on a daily basis, with 220 emergency drills per year, the major incident drill is an outstanding training opportunity. After all, in case of an emergency the fire department and emergency medical services need to work hand in hand with site security, environmental monitoring, employee care team and the respective plant. That’s why we train regularly the necessary procedures and measures at the site.

And that’s important, as even though we have been running a chemical site with the very highest safety standard for decades, it is essential to be prepared for the unlikely event of an incident. I compare it with the first aid courses, which – I hope – everyone participates in regularly. You don’t participate because you expect to be confronted with an accident straight away and have to provide first aid. You go there to be well prepared for this situation and to be able to provide fast and effective first aid. Our exercises with our professionally trained and very well-equipped emergency response teams are just the same.

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Gert van Bortel

Vice President BASF Emergency Response.

Why do you need spectators? Isn’t this just an unnecessary complication?

With the major incident drill, we demonstrate our performance in the event of a crisis to our neighbors, the competent authorities of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, city of Ludwigshafen and the insurance companies. It’s also about establishing trust and showing that we are ideally prepared in case of an emergency. In the year 2019, we invited the members of the neighborhood forum for the first time. And there was another first this year: We raffled off a total of 10 wild cards for interested employees and externals, so for those who are particularly interested in the BASF Fire Department.
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Gert van Bortel

Vice President BASF Emergency Response.

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The Major Incident Drill 2022 

Stay tuned to see what we will show you this year....

The Major Incident Drill 2021 

Due to the corona pandemic without external guests.

The new acetylene plant was the location for the major incident drill in 2021. Fire department, emergency medical services, environmental monitoring, site security and the crisis intervention team - a total of around 100 emergency services - were deployed. Due to the corona pandemic, the major incident drill took place in compliance with strict hygiene measures and without external guests.

Eine Dichtung versagt, Gas tritt aus und verursacht einen Folgebrand – dieses Szenario stand im Mittelpunkt der 31. Großschadensalarmübung der BASF SE am 25. November. Einsatzort war erstmals die neue Acetylen-Anlage.

The Major Incident Drill 2020 

Celebrating the drill's 30th anniversary

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30 years Major Incident Drill 

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Behind the scenes

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Double anniversary

The Major Incident Drill 2019 

Behind the scenes

During BASF's annual major incident drill at the Ludwigshafen site, 100 emergency responders were on the ball today.

They deployed 24 vehicles and the turbo extinguisher trucks to rescue injured employees after a fire on a natural gas pipeline, carried out fire-fighting measures and protected surrounding buildings from overflowing flames. "In case of an emergency, our emergency responders must work very closely together. That is why the internal and external fire departments, emergency medical services, site security, environmental monitoring, employee care team and the affected plant regularly train the procedures and measures," said Michael Heinz, Member of BASF’s Board of Directors and Site Director. BASF's emergency medical services was supported by the large-capacity ambulance of the Ludwigshafen professional fire department.

The BASF site fire department in Ludwigshafen has over 180 employees. It is responsible for emergency response at the site as well as for central tasks within BASF's global emergency response organization. It also provides technical assistance in emergencies, advises other companies on fire safety issues and contributes its expertise to the "Transport Accident Information and Assistance System" (TUIS) of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI).

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Photo and Film

 Impressions and insights

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Visitors at the Major Incident Drill 2019

The lucky wildcard winners 

Only guests from the neighborhood forum are usually invited to BASF's annual major incident drill. A novelty this year was the drawing of a total of ten wild cards, which enabled five external visitors and five employees from the Ludwigshafen site to attend the major incident drill 2019 live. Read here how they experienced the exercise:

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"It was very interesting to witness the exercise. To see the fire department in action is something different than on the open day. One notices how slowly three minutes can pass when one consciously waits for time to pass". 

 

Sandra Berger,

Employee at the Ludwigshafen site

"As a professional firefighter (in Worms) and as a paramedic for the Maltese, I observed the major incident drill exercise from a special angle. It was very exciting to see how everything works and I took many impressions with me in a short time. In general, the major incident drill was very coordinated and clear. Everything was clearly marked". 

Thorsten Walther,

External visitor

"The exercise was very exciting for me. I was impressed by the cooperation between the fire department and the emergency rescue services and the good coordination."

 

Florian Urgulu,

Employee at the Ludwigshafen site

"On the way to the exercise, I was very excited. I kept asking the firefighter a lot of questions. Now, after the answers and the major incident drill, I'm more relaxed." 

 

Tanja Heine,

Resident

"It is fascinating what a great staff is behind this exercise. Everything went very well. I think in case of emergency, it'll all be a little quicker." 

 

Christiane Reske,

External visitor and mother of a BASF firefighter

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All specific questions of the guests about the major incident drill  were answered by many colleagues directly at the location of the event.

The Major Incident Drill 2019 

Train together for the case of emergency

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