Dachstein: Successful Emergency Exercise At The New Mountain Station

The Dachstein Gletscherbahn is back in operation after around nine months of complete renovation of the mountain station. In advance of the opening, an emergency drill took place on May 11th. Under the direction of the Liezen district administration and in close coordination with those responsible at Planai-Hochwurzen-Bahnen GmbH and the mayor of the municipality of Ramsau am Dachstein, the Ramsau am Dachstein fire department and mountain rescue service, the Styrian police, the Austrian Red Cross and the air rescue took part. The exercise included various scenarios covering a wide range of possible emergency situations.

“A lot has happened at the Dachstein mountain station in the last few months. The renovation of the mountain station led to significant adjustments to emergency procedures. It was therefore important to us not only to carry out theoretical planning, but also to test it in a practical emergency exercise together with the organizations involved,” explained Dir. Georg Bliem, Managing Director of Planai-Hochwurzen-Bahnen GmbH.

The exercise scenarios included a fire in the Dachstein mountain station with evacuation of guests by helicopter and material cable car, with some of them suffering smoke inhalation. In addition, the standstill of the gondolas was simulated, in which there were also some injured people who had to be brought to the stations using an emergency drive. Another scenario was the search and rescue of a missing person on the Hunerkogel via ferrata and the rescue of an injured person on the stairs to nowhere. After the emergency exercise was completed, due to the favorable weather, we also practiced dropping rescue specialists onto the gondolas of the Dachstein Gletscherbahn using a helicopter and rope.

The aim of the exercise was to create a training staff, check the interfaces of the respective emergency organizations, check materials and resources and get to know the newly adapted conditions around the new mountain station of the Dachstein Gletscherbahn.

Comments on the emergency exercise:

Christian Huber, Head of Operations at the Styria State Police Directorate said “The Styrian Alpine Police Alpine Task Force Liezen would like to thank everyone involved. This exercise shows once again how important the interaction of individual emergency organizations is. The goal is always the same. Namely, to save human lives and keep damage as low as possible.”

Ernst Fischbacher, Mayor of Ramsau am Dachstein added “As the main person responsible for disaster control management in the community, I am very proud to have seen again in this exercise how quickly, flexibly and efficiently our emergency response organizations work. I am grateful for the exercise and hope to never find myself in the situation of such an emergency. The conclusion from this is very positive. I would like to congratulate the emergency services.”

Christian Gruber, head of mountain rescue operations in Ramsau am Dachstein: agreed “Exercises like these are extremely important in order to be prepared for an emergency. Each emergency organization involved has its own competencies and it is important to work together perfectly as a team. We managed that very well today.”

Christian Gebeshuber, civil protection officer BH Liezen concluded “It is important to practice such exposed building operations with the respective emergency services in order to have the necessary local knowledge and the sequence of rescue and evacuation measures in the event of an emergency. The exchange and knowledge of the people involved is also urgently necessary for a positive outcome of the operation.”

Norbert Pichler, Red Cross operations manager was content “An exercise at this altitude is very challenging, which makes it all the more important to go through the emergency procedures. Together with the other emergency organizations and the mountain railways, under the leadership of BH Liezen, we succeeded in this very well today. As the Red Cross, it is our job to clarify the resources in the hospitals, take over the injured people from the mountain rescue team and transport them to the respective hospitals."

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