Disaster Relief Service

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Technical train of the KHD (Upper Austria)
KHD - mission drive

In Austria, fire brigade units that are nationally organized and can be deployed are called disaster relief services or KHD for short . In some federal states it is also known as the fire extinguishing and rescue service , or FuB for short, or as the fire extinguishing and disaster control service , or F-KAT for short . The corresponding structures are also referred to as disaster relief services in the rescue organizations .


The disaster relief service is regulated by the Disaster Relief Service Act according to the state code and can vary between the federal states. The state fire brigade associations were charged with organizing the KHD units . In addition to the state fire brigade association as the central management, the municipalities are also obliged to participate in the KHD in their own municipality and can be asked to participate. Most of the time, vehicles and crews from the individual fire brigades are pulled together in trains in the KHD units . Fire brigade vehicles and crews are only called in if the local population is still protected.

In addition to the existing structures of a fire brigade, the state fire brigade association stationed equipment and vehicles for disaster control in selected base fire brigades throughout the state.

Regional particularities

Lower Austria

In Lower Austria , one KHD standby is organized for each political district and consists of 4 to 5 trains. In the event of a disaster, they can be used both in their own district and in other districts. In their own district they are under the direct District Joint Staff . If they are deployed elsewhere, they are subordinate to the respective operational command, but work as independently as possible, i. H. The replenishment is also organized as far as possible.

For assignments outside of one's own federal state or internationally, parts of several KHD units can also be brought together. This is necessary when only individual special forces are required in the area of ​​operation, e.g. B. Search parties for earthquakes. In Lower Austria , these units, which have been specially put together in advance, are referred to as KHD-Niederösterreich A and B.


In Vienna , the KHD is not made up of members of several fire brigades, but is gathered centrally at a station. The members receive the same basic training as the members of the professional fire brigade Vienna . Upon request, the KHD is alerted and two rescue vehicles and, if necessary, a command vehicle are made ready for use. In Vienna, the KHD is also responsible for training young firefighters .


In Carinthia , disaster camps have been set up by the state fire brigade association at some fire brigades. There are also 5 disaster trains. These are each composed of comrades from two districts. All KAT trains hold large-scale exercises every year and are used for various missions in the event of a disaster.

Upper Austria

Until 2016 there was a so-called fire extinguishing and rescue service (FuB service) in Upper Austria. Each district exhibited such a willingness. In 2016, the regional disaster service was reorganized. Each district has to set up fire extinguishing and disaster control trains (F-KAT trains), which are made up of units of the fire brigades in the district. A distinction is made between different variants:

  • F-KAT Classic (universally applicable)
  • F-KAT TLF (consists of tank fire engines )
  • F-KAT LF (consists of fire trucks with portable pumps)
  • F-KAT technical (consists of vehicles with technical equipment, lifting devices, etc.)
  • F-KAT personnel (consists of personnel transport vehicles)
  • Special train: pollutant train (specially designed train for dangerous goods operations , adaptive)
  • Special train: water service (consists of work boats , motor barges etc. and their towing vehicles, adaptive)

A vehicle that is assigned to a specific train may not be used on another train so that all trains can operate at the same time. If necessary, other special trains (e.g. flood train to set up the mobile flood protection system on the Danube ) can be put together. These platoons are led by a command platoon, with each platoon itself being led by a platoon commander. This is all regulated in the fire extinguishing u. Disaster control service Upper Austria (F-KAT Dienst OÖ) .

Development of a KHD readiness


A KHD standby in Burgenland is made up of the following units according to the standard structure specified by the state fire brigade command:

  • KHD readiness command (BerKdo) with command train (KDO train) (target strength: 38 men, 8 vehicles and 2 motorcycles)
  • 1st fire engine (target strength: 46 men and 7 vehicles)
  • 2nd fire engine (target strength: 46 men and 7 vehicles)
  • 1. Technical train (target strength: 46 men and 8 vehicles)

Thus, a Burgenland KHD readiness according to the standard structure comprises 176 men, 30 vehicles and 2 motorcycles. In addition, there are KHD special trains for hazardous substances, radiation protection, forest fires and floods. For example, the Güssing district fire department set up two additional flood trains. Some of these trains represent an alternative structure to the other KHD trains, in which individual vehicles are given a new assignment. As a rule, however, these are additional vehicles for the individual brigades, with 23 of the 52 volunteer fire brigades in the district providing teams and vehicles for KHD operations.

While in Lower Austria, for example, KHD readiness services have numbers analogous to military markings with which they are identified, the readiness numbers in Burgenland are named with the abbreviation of the district (examples: Ber-GS = KHD readiness of the Güssing district fire brigade command, BerKdo-OW = KHD -Commando of the Oberwart district ).

The KHD standby command is in the hands of the KHD standby commandant (BerKdt), while the standby command, mobile in the event of an incident, consists of the following functions:

  • Head of staff work (LtrStb) also deputy standby command (BerKdtStv)
  • Head of Department S1 - Human Resources
  • Head of Department S2 - Situation
  • Head of department S3 - deployment
  • Head of S4 - Utilities
  • Head of S5 - Public Relations
  • Head of S6 - Communication

All staff members are supported in a mobile operation by the command platoon. KHD standby commander as well as S2 and S3 can also form the advance command for HKD standby, while this is in the meantime managed by the BerKdtStv.


In Vienna , due to the comparatively small number of crews, only 2 mountain fire engines and possibly one command vehicle are manned. They can handle operations completely by hand, or form an extinguishing readiness with other vehicles of the professional fire brigade Vienna . If necessary, the KHD Vienna can also fall back on a few small vehicles.

Flow diagram of a KHD mission

As an example of the course of a typical KHD mission, the flowchart described in the relevant service regulations of the Burgenland fire brigade command is given here.

Alerting phase

After requesting the use of KHD units, the state fire brigade commander (LFKdt) summons the state fire brigade command staff (LFüSt) or parts thereof and, after contacting the requesting offices or the on-site operations management, assesses which KHD units are to be alerted.

Then the respective district fire commander (BFKdt) is contacted and the KHD standby command (BerKdo) is alerted. The BerKdo meets at the location of the district fire brigade and, after assessing the situation, puts together the corresponding KHD trains.

The trains are then alerted either by the Federal Warning Center (BWZ) or by the State Fire Brigade Alarm Center (LFAZ). The alert text must contain, among other things:

  • KHD use
  • expected location and activity
  • Vehicles and equipment to be provided
  • Food and supplies to take with you
  • estimated duration of use
  • Meeting places and times

Collection and arrival phase

KHD collection phase

The command train (KdoZg) also gathers at the location of the district base fire department. If necessary, the advance command (VorKdo), consisting of the standby commandant (BerKdt) and the staff members S3 (deployment) / S2 (situation), drives up to the operational area in order to contact the commanding authorities there. With the information determined in this way, it creates the deployment orders for the trains to be deployed and maintains contact with the regional command staff (LFüSt).

In the meantime, the alarmed trains assemble in the ordered staging areas and the train commanders (ZgKdt) transmit a strength report to the parts of the standby command (BerKdo) remaining at the location of the district base fire brigade. This forwards a total strength message to the advance command. After receiving the deployment order, the trains move into the deployment area in the marching order ordered.

Deployment phase

After arriving in the emergency room, the KHD readiness command is set up by the standby command (BerKdo) and the command platoon (KdoZg). The trains are briefed on the situation when they arrive and drive to the assigned deployment rooms in accordance with the instructions received during this briefing.


The fire brigade commander of St. Sigmund im Sellrain described the emotional effect the appearance of a KHD train can have on victims of natural disasters after a storm devastated the Sellraintal in early June 2015 :

“In the night from Sunday to Monday, when the storm hit Sellrain, no one could have guessed what the Sellrainers would see in the morning when it got light again. The whole dimension of the catastrophe was then visible. At first it was like a faint, as it was very difficult or even impossible for the emergency services to get into the affected area ... Accordingly, it must have been very difficult for those affected on Monday. A completely different picture then presented itself on Tuesday, the paths were clear enough that the emergency services could fully drive up. In the following days there were several KAT trains of the fire brigade in Sellrain, but on Tuesday the first came, which for some Sellrainers due to the Monday was unimaginable. I was able to talk to the resident concerned about these impressions and she told me about the moment when she saw the arrival of the KAT train of the Schwaz District Fire Brigade Association on Tuesday . She looked in the direction of Oberperfuss , from where a seemingly endless number of fire engines were moving in the direction of Sellrain. This moment moved her to tears when she saw this incredible willingness to help at a glance. "

- District fire brigade association Innsbruck-Land

Web links

Commons : Disaster Relief Service  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Documents for download - Upper Austria. State Fire Brigade Association. Retrieved July 2, 2018 .
  2. a b Instructions from September 1, 2005: Disaster Relief Service (KHD) in the Burgenland Fire Brigade Association (PDF) ( Memento of the original from March 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Website, accessed July 24, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.lfv-bgld.at
  3. KHD structure of the Güssing district fire brigade command , website regiowiki.at, accessed on July 25, 2015
  4. ^ Disaster Relief Service in the Burgenland Fire Brigade Association , website regiowiki.at, accessed on July 25, 2015
  5. Storm Sellrain fire brigade , website www.youtube.com, accessed on July 24, 2015
  6. Night of Terror: See und Sellrain devastated , website www.youtube.com, accessed on July 24, 2015
  7. UPDATE on the severe weather disaster in Sellrain , website www.bfv-ibk-land.at, accessed on July 24, 2015