Organization and Concept of Intervention of the Chemical Defence Bases in Switzerland


  • Urs Ludescher



Chemical accidents, Chemical defence concept, Intervention forces, Swiss fire fighters association, Training requirements


In contrast to radiological risks, which are the responsibility of the federal authorities, the cantons have to deal with chemical risks. In agreement with the chemical defence concept of the Swiss Fire Fighters Association (SFFA) each canton should have a network of chemical defence bases enabling efficient intervention on site within thirty minutes of a chemical accident. Due to the drafting of the 'Ordinance of 27 February 1991 on Protection against Major Accidents' after the disastrous chemical fire in Schweizerhalle on 1 November 1986, it has been possible to reduce the chemical risks in Switzerland considerably. This could be achieved primarily by reduction of the amounts of hazardous materials in the facilities subject to the ordinance, but also by structural measures, the establishment of powerful intervention forces, and intervention planning. The responsibility for the training of chemical defence specialists is divided between the SFFA and the cantons. The SFFA organizes training courses for officers-in-charge for chemical accidents and for instructors for chemical defence; the cantons and the chemical industry in turn are responsible for the basic training of specialists and officers for chemical defence.