THW, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief, a governmental non-profit organisation (GO) belonging to the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, is possibly “unique” across the world. Established as the German governmental disaster relief organisation in 1950, its tasks are defined by federal law and include technical relief and assistance in a large number of emergencies, within Germany and abroad.
99% of the around 80 000 THW-members work on a voluntary basis in 668 local volunteer branches across Germany. Only one per cent of THW-members are employed at THW’s headquarters in Bonn, in the 8 federal offices, 66 regional offices, the two schools or the two logistics centres.
Equipped with modern equipment and well-trained relief workers, THW assists at the local, regional, national and international level. Search and rescue, flood protection, electricity supply, technical support of infrastructure, drinking water supply, command and communication, and logistics support are some of THW’s operational capacities. A central THW personnel roster, qualified and available for missions abroad as well as predefined units and modules, a logistics centre especially for missions abroad serve as key elements for rapid international deployment.
THW currently offers a variety of internal courses to prepare its volunteers for a deployment abroad, among them a compulsory “Deployment Preparation Course”. The “Deployment Preparation Course” is a prerequisite for volunteers to be admitted to THW’s personnel roster for international missions.