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The case of a disaster is a term used both in state disaster control and in general when considering the safety of technical systems and buildings in industry and business. Only formalized descriptions of disasters allow the planning of effective alarm and security measures. By declaring a disaster, the relevant regulations on rights, obligations and operational plans during a disaster are fully applied in the affected area. The abbreviation K-case (also cat-case ) is often used in technical jargon as well as in documentation .


In Germany

Declaring a disaster is a political decision in Germany and is the responsibility of the main administrative officer (usually the district administrator or mayor in urban districts ). With the declaration of the disaster, the management of operations and the obligation to bear the costs are transferred to the authorities. From this point on, the authorizations of the respective national disaster protection laws can be used. In contrast to this, the fire brigade can declare a state of emergency independently , with the aim of activating additional emergency services at short notice in the event of an unusual occurrence or a major incident.

The decision always has significant financial consequences. The declaration or non-declaration of the disaster can have far-reaching legal consequences:

Claims settlement

In terms of insurance law , it is, according to the German understanding, a damaging event that objectively goes well beyond the scope of damaging events in everyday life and thereby significantly endangers or restricts the life and health of numerous people, significant property or vital supply measures for the population .

Force majeure

As force majeure (legal terminology) is usually referred to, what causes a disaster without the action of technical systems or without happened effective influence of the victim (eg natural disaster ). Depending on the contract conditions (e.g. insurance contract ), such risks are excluded from the regulation.

In Austria

If a city or an area is declared a disaster by the aid workers , this means that the operations management is handed over to the authorities by the aid workers (e.g. volunteer fire brigade ). This should lead to better deployment and coordination of the auxiliary staff.

In Switzerland

The process is similar to that in Austria.

See also

Disaster in information processing

When operating data centers or business-critical applications, the term disaster scenario is primarily used for temporary failures of technical infrastructure. A failure of the fax , for example, should not be viewed as a disaster, as a number of other communication options usually remain.

As a rule of thumb for purely commercial, that is, non-human health or life-endangering K-cases, a downtime of half a day to a full day is assumed. If the computer systems are used to operate other technical systems such as power plants or manufacturing plants, this period can occur after a fraction of a second ( accident ) if the technical system cannot go into a harmless idle or fault state. During the operation of a vehicle, for example, the disaster occurs if the vehicle is not stopped safely or a human driver can seamlessly take over responsibility for driving.

See also

Loss of service

More precisely, one speaks of an incident when (at least) one service that influences the central business processes cannot be provided for an unforeseeable or foreseeably too long period and there is no direct replacement ( backup in the broader sense) available. Database failures can often mean an incident because they contain all business-critical data if incident management is not set up.

Individual evidence

  1. Links to the disaster control laws of the federal states. Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, accessed on May 2, 2020 .
  2. Berlin House of Representatives , 18th electoral term: Written request from Member of Parliament Burkard Dregger (CDU) dated February 28, 2019 on the subject of emergency rescue service at the Berlin fire brigade. Printed matter 18/18 072 .