Kurtz Ersa Magazine

Employee Story G7 Summit

Hurrah for the volunteers!

At the beginning of June, Schloss Elmau in Krün, Upper Bavaria, was the venue for the G7 summit. The participants: the seven most significant industrial nations in the western world, represented by, among others, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama. In addition to a huge police contingent, a further 1,800 helpers were on duty, most of them volunteers from various aid organisations. Among them was Kurtz Ersa staff member and Bavarian Red Cross (BRK) paramedic Hans-Peter Blum.

Schloss Elmau on the 7th of June in front of the panorama of the alps; source: Bundesregierung/Gottschalk
Schloss Elmau on the 7th of June in front of the alps; source: Bundesregierung/Gottschalk

Most of the security forces were already in situ almost two weeks before the heads of state actually meet. For that reason, the “Information and Communication Rapid Response Team" of the BRK Local Chapter Main-Spessart were also on duty around the clock for 14 days, working in shifts. This team is mobilised when an increased coordination effort is required. As soon as the paramedical command unit – consisting of Organisational Manager and Senior Emergency Physician – becomes involved, we are automatically deployed as its support group, be it at concerts, sporting events, demonstrations, searches for missing persons, bomb threats, traffic accidents or fires.


Our duties include helper registration, situation reports, documentation, the organisation of rooms, recording the injured and the management of their evacuation, briefing and coordinating the means of transport. We have a mobile command centre at our disposal, equipped with PCs, radio units, phones, fax, copier, internet, maps and a meeting room.

A glance in a control room of the Bavarian Red Cross
A glance in a control room of the BRK

Communication using
tap-proof digital radio

During the G7 summit, we were stationed in the Mittenwald Youth Hostel and responsible for catering in operational area 4. A command post with technical equipment, pin boards and flipcharts was set up in the hostel. For the first time, not only the police communicated via tap-proof digital radio, so too did the aid organisations. In our operational area there were seven so-called “refreshment points” with generally two field kitchens keeping the police task forces supplied with warm food and beverages. Food was prepared around the clock, and our duties included supervising staff changeover and organising the swap of used food thermophores and kitchen equipment.

Five of the refreshment points were within control area S2, an Alpine area, surrounded by a 16 km fence and in parts fairly inaccessible. Every individual to be allowed access to the control area had to register with the BKA weeks in advance before receiving accreditation on location. At a BKA checkpoint located at every access, vehicles had to pass through the mobile X-ray unit before being gone over by a sniffer dog. The occupants were subjected to the type of identity checks familiar from air travel.

Hans-Peter Blum works in the SAP Competence Center at Kurtz Ersa; he has been a BRK volunteer since 2006, and worked as a paramedic since 2013
Hans-Peter Blum works in the SAP Competence Center at Kurtz Ersa; he has been a BRK volunteer since 2006, and worked as a paramedic since 2013

When the checks were successfully completed, a police car was assigned as a pilot, constantly accompanying the vehicle to and within the control area. Depending on the queues at the checkpoints, it could take up to three hours to pass through. As five of the refreshment points within the fenced-off area had neither electricity nor running water, fresh supplies of diesel for the generators and the filling or removal of the water tanks and toilet units had to be organised. The kitchens were fitted out with sleeping facilities and material for 48 hours in compliance with contingency plans in case access to the security zone was blocked. Overall, we kept around 800 helpers and 4,500 police officers fed every day in our operational area.

Exhausting, but fulfilling

While the assignment in Elmau was hectic and exhausting, it was also a great experience. Fortunately, almost all the demonstrations around the summit were peaceful. Before too long, I certainly intend returning as a tourist to the Zugspitz region with its magnificent mountain scenery – and will be able to really enjoy my stay this time, without stress and without security forces.


Hans-Peter Blum: Volunteering …

In addition to my work at Kurtz Ersa, I have also undergone training as a paramedic and since then have been regularly deployed for the Marktheidenfeld Emergency Station – not an easy job, but a fulfilling one. You are challenged, you never know what to expect. Particularly at night, you might not even get a chance to take a nap.

You could be dealing with a serious accident involving injured persons, a heart attack, a stroke, an in-house emergency call for an elderly person or a relatively harmless accident at work with lacerations – everything is possible. I am also occasionally called out as a First Responder. The First Responder Unit Marktheidenfeld is called out when the local ambulance is already on a call-out and any other emergency vehicle would have to come from some distance away. This can be a matter of life and death, particularly in cases of cardiac arrest. Does everyone actually know what to do in this situation – or might it be time for a first aid refresher course?


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