Über die ATF (english version)

Concepts of environmental analytics/ATF

at the Mannheim Fire Brigade


Development of environmental analytics and Basis of the Analytical Task Force


Several incidents in chemical factories in the Rhein-Neckar area have been the trigger for the Mannheim Fire Brigade to develop a system which produces well-founded information input for the incident commander during an incident with hazardous material. As a result of this awareness in 1997 the environmental analytical team was founded.

Just a few months after the installation of the new technique it was well accepted by the fire brigades around Mannheim. With the result of a rising number of operations in other counties.


The idea of an Analytical Task Force (ATF) was the result of a research project which was financed by the federal department for civil protection (forerunner of today ́s BBK) at the Technical University Hamburg Harburg which was dealing with the invention of a fast-analytic Task-Force for large scale chemical incidents and fires.
The intention was to assist fire brigades with a basic analytical equipment by highly equipped mobile units inclusive an expert knowledge at a high level.
To handle these tasks it was necessary to make the teams airborne with short alarm times. Parallel to the team which is on the way to the incident an expert system, consisting from specialists of different disciplines (meteorologists, chemists, physicians, engineers, etc.) is activated. These experts produce as a result of their knowledge an expertise for the A TF T eam leader who transfers these ideas to the local officer in charge.

The foundation of the ATF was a result of the strategic concept of the additional technical equipment of the disaster protection in civil protection (report of the ministry of the interior 2003).

In the passed pilot project, installing the Task Forces with the function chemical-analytics four groups have been selected. These where the Fire Brigades of Hamburg and Mannheim, the Criminal Investigation Police (Landeskriminalamt, LKA) in Berlin and the Institute of the Fire Department of Saxony- Anhalt (Institut der Feuerwehr Sachsen Anhalt, IdF, nearby Magdeburg). These organisations had been promoted by the BBK because they had still a high developed analytical equipment and they had comprehensive skills in on-site analysis. The technical equipment of all teams is nearly identical. The only difference is the size and the background of the teams.

For the future of catastrophe protection and civil protection a maintenance in four levels is planed. The daily protection of the population (level 1) is to be organised by the local fire brigade equipment. An all over the country operating basic protection (level 2) is to be organised by the counties. For the next higher protection level (level 3) the Länder have the responsibility. The special protection nationwide for defined dangers with the help of so called task forces (level 4) has to be organized in combination of the federal government and the Länder.

It is planed that – in case of a large scale incident – the local authority in charge can call for further help at the federal command centre (GMLZ), if not able to cope with the situation by own means. By this command centre, the request is sent to the ATF group, which is located mostly nearby the site of incident. The alarmed teams are then immediately sent by the ATF ́s local command centre after first conference of the local officer in charge and the ATF-team leader.