Mass Casualties

What is the 'Mass Casualties' plan?

The 'Mass Casualties' plan defines the national package of measures put in place in the event of incidents which involve a significant number of casualties within the territory of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

It lays out the emergency procedures needed to remedy the consequences of a situation which lead or may lead to multiple casualties and mitigate the risk of a major disruption that threatens the vital interests or essential needs of all or part of the country or population of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

What are the objectives of the 'Mass Casualties' plan?

The 'Mass Casualties' plan aims to:

  • set the conditions under which the plan should be triggered;
  • detail the method for activating the crisis cells;
  • set the intervention measures and associated actions to be taken;
  • and the alert procedures in the event of an emergency.

 

Which situations trigger the 'Mass Casualties' plan?

The situations that could trigger the plan include:

  • large fires;
  • buildings collapsing;
  • road, rail, air or maritime accidents;
  • acts of terrorism;
  • industrial accidents or accidents in companies;
  • accidents caused by chemical products;
  • accidents linked with natural hazards;
  • etc

In some situations, it may be necessary to implement all or part of this plan. These situations may include:

  • the implementation of preventative measures during major, foreseeable events;
  • major cross-border events;
  • requests for international assistance;
  • international events with mass casualties which could affect a national interest;
  • national events which arouse great media interest (a 'media emergency') involving a limited number of victims (e.g. a small number of children injured at a school, etc.).

 

What are the criteria for implementing the 'Mass Casualties' plan?

The criteria for implementing the plan include

  • the real or potential number of casualties ;
  • the characteristics of the emergency response required ;
  • and the specific difficulties involved in implementing it.

 

Which stakeholders are involved in implementing the 'Mass Casualties' plan?

The 'Mass Casualties' plan is triggered by the Director of the Rescue Services Agency under the supervision of the Minister of Home Affairs.

All the ministries, agencies and departments of the State are required to cooperate with the implementation of the plan using all the means available to them.

Which management bodies take action in connection with the 'Mass Casualties' plan?

In the event of an accident, the crisis is managed by the Crisis Cell, which is made up of the Incident Evaluation Cell (CEI), the Operational Command Post (PCO) and the Communication and Information Cell (CIC).

What is the role of the Emergency Call Centre 112 (CSU 112)?

When a call is received indicating that an incident that may involve a large number of casualties has occurred and before the crisis management bodies are activated, the CSU 112 immediately alerts the emergency services as provided for in the internal procedures of the Rescue Services Agency (Administration des services de secours, ASS) and informs the Grand Ducal Police.

The CSU 112 will then inform the Director of the Rescue Services Agency or his deputy who will decide whether to implement the plan under the authority of the Minister of Home Affairs.

In parallel, the CSU 112 alerts the Incident Evaluation Cell (Cellule d'évaluation de l'incident, CEI).

What is the role of the Incident Evaluation Cell (Cellule d’évaluation, CEI)?

The CEI is alerted by the CSU 112 in the event of a large-scale accident which may involve a large number of casualties.

It is composed of experts from the Rescue Services Agency, the Grand Ducal Police, the High Commission for National Protection and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The CEI's main mission consists of analysing and evaluating whether the incident should be considered a crisis : it therefore carries out a preliminary analysis of the type and severity of the accident.

Its analysis and assessment are submitted to the High Commissioner so that he can assess whether it should be suggested to the Prime Minister to activate the Crisis Cell (CC).

 

What is the Crisis Cell?

The Crisis Cell initiates, coordinates and monitors the execution of all the measures intended to deal with the crisis and its effects in order to return the situation to normal.

It prepares the necessary decisions and submits them to the government for approval.

Composed of representatives from the ministries, administrations and departments involved depending on the nature and scale of the crisis, the Crisis Cell is activated either by the Prime Minister and Minister of State or by the Minister of Home Affairs.

Who activates the Crisis Cell?

The Crisis Cell is activated by the Prime Minister and Minister of State or by the Minister of Home Affairs.

The plan will be triggered if a call is made to the Emergency Call Centre (CSU 112) signalling a situation, accident or incident of a natural, technological, criminal or terrorist origin which has lead to or may lead to more than ten casualties.

When does the Prime Minister activate the Crisis Cell?

The Crisis Cell is activated by the Prime Minister and Minister of State in the event of any crisis defined as follows which involves a large number of casualties:

'any event which, by its nature or effects, threatens the vital interests or essential needs of all or part of the country or population, which requires that urgent decisions be taken and that the actions of the Government and agencies, departments and bodies connected with the public authorities be coordinated on a national and international level if required'

The VIGILNAT plan (the government plan for national vigilance in the face of the threat of acts of terrorism) applies to any incident that involves a large number of casualties and may have been the result of an act of terrorism.

When does the Minister of Home Affairs activate the Crisis Cell?

The Crisis Cell is activated by the Minister of Home Affairs for any other event or incident which involves a large number casualties but

  • to which the definition of 'crisis' does not apply
  • and which is not suspected to be terrorist in origin.

 

Who participates in the Crisis Cell (CC)?

Depending on the urgency of the large-scale incident, the CC includes at least the following people:

  • the representative of the Minister of Home Affairs;
  • the High Commissioner for National Protection;
  • the Director-General of the Grand Ducal Police;
  • the Director of the Rescue Services Agency;
  • the Director of Health;
  • the Director of the Office for crisis communication.

 

Can the Crisis Cell be enlarged to include other ministries?

The Crisis Cell can be enlarged in line with the circumstances by representatives from the other ministerial departments concerned, such as:

  • the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region;
  • the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs;
  • the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure (Department of Transport, Department of the Environment, Water Management Authority, Public Works Department / Administration for Roads and Bridges);
  • the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy;
  • the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.

When does the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region become involved in the Crisis Cell?

Depending on the circumstances and requirements, the Crisis Cell (CC) can be expanded to include representatives from the other ministerial departments involved.

The Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region may become involved in the CC:

  • when the permanent group for psychological trauma support is activated;
  • when an incident occurs in one of the establishments under its authority: housing for disabled people, refugees, foreigners and adults in distress and services for elderly people.

When does the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs become involved in the Crisis Cell?

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) is the point of contact for countries' embassies accredited by the Luxembourg government. In the event of a crisis or catastrophe, embassies should contact the MAEE to find out whether any of their nationals have been affected.

If necessary, the MAEE can also act as an intermediary by means of its network of embassies abroad to intervene officially if requests or requirements are not provided for by bilateral agreements.

When does the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure become involved in the Crisis Cell?

Depending on the circumstances and requirements, the Crisis Cell (CC) can be expanded to include representatives from the other ministerial departments involved.

The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure may become involved in the CC through:

  • the Department for Transport during any incident, accident or event which affects the transport sector (civil aviation, railways, etc.);

  • the Department of the Environment during any event:

    • that involves a fire in industrial plants;

    • during which polluting substances (e.g. solvents) have entered or risk entering the soil and subsoil;

    • that involves a waste treatment or disposal plant.

  • the Water Management Authority when:

    • the incident causes or risks causing water pollution (drinking water, surface water, groundwater) including in the event of soil pollution;

    • the reason for implementing the plan is water pollution, in particular of drinking water;

    • the reason for implementing the plan is a flood.

  • the Public Works Department / Administration for Roads and Bridges.

When does the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy get involved in the Crisis Cell?

Depending on the circumstances and requirements, the Crisis Cell (CC) can be expanded to include representatives from the other ministerial departments involved.

The Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy may become involved in the CC for any incident:

  • that involves a large number of employees;
  • that concerns an accident involving one (or several) industrial plant(s);
  • that concerns an establishment subject to the provisions
    • of the Grand Ducal regulation of 23 December 2005 modifying the Grand Ducal regulation of 17 July 2000 concerning the management of the dangers linked with major accidents involving dangerous substances;
    • of the coordinated text of the Grand Ducal regulation of 17 July 2000 concerning the management of the dangers linked with major accidents involving dangerous substances.

 

When does the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth get involved in the Crisis Cell?

Depending on the circumstances and requirements, the Crisis Cell (CC) can be expanded to include representatives from the other ministerial departments involved.

The Minister of Education, Children and Youth may become involved in the CC in the event of:

  • an incident in one of the establishments under its authority: day centres, crèches, nurseries, boarding schools, reception centres for children and young people, entertainment services for young people (the National Youth Service);
  • assault by pupils or a third party against other students or teachers which involves a number of casualties or more or less seriously injured people. Such incidents do not necessarily require the entire plan to be triggered, but do represent a 'media emergency';
  • a hostage situation, acts of terrorism or incidents following events linked to national education;
  • accidents in specialist secondary education laboratories or workshops;
  • serious accidents involving school transport (bus, railway);
  • incidents involving school infrastructure.

 

Can the Crisis Cell be enlarged to include other stakeholders?

Depending on the circumstances and requirements, the Crisis Cell can be expanded to include

  • the Armed Forces;
  • the National Health Laboratory if its expertise is required to manage an exceptional event;
  • the State Prosecutor if the event could have criminal origins;
  • a public or private company if an event occurs within said company.

What is the role of the Operational Command Post (Poste de commandement opérationnel, PCO)?

The PCO will be located on the ground where intervention is required.

The Crisis Cell may delegate to the PCO the power to execute, implement and monitor the ordered measures and activities.

The PCO's mission is to direct all the missions and operations on the ground, to centralise and make use of information and request and distribute the necessary backup.

What is the role of the Communication/Information Cell (CCI)?

The CCI is in charge of communication and providing information for the media and citizens.

The horizontal coordination of organising external communication falls to the Office for crisis communication.

How is the emergency response coordinated?

The 'Mass Casualties' plan provides those charged with its execution with the tools they need to react in an appropriate and flexible manner to incidents involving a large number of casualties.

The plan's implementation defines the following:

  • the operational tactics for the rescue services (the role of the first response team on the ground and the division procedure);
  • the implementation of the Operational Command Post (PCO);
  • the implementation of the rescue unit;
  • the implementation of the medical chain (including the setting up of the collection unit, the Advanced Medical Post /PMA), the evacuation unit and medical support);
  • the organisation of the mortuary area;
  • the procedure for evacuating and hospitalising victims;
  • the procedure to mobilise supplies of donated blood, pharmaceutical products, medical instruments and logistic means;
  • the implementation of the reception service for those involved (SAI);
  • the establishment of security perimeters.

 

What is the role of the first response team?

The role of the first response team on the ground is to supply an in-depth assessment of the situation enabling the emergency services to deploy in a rapid and effective manner.

What is the division procedure?

The division procedure aims to divide up the work required on the ground to organise the response chain in a tactical manner.

What is the role of the medical chain?

The medical chain, placed under the authority of the Director of Medical Emergency Services (Directeur des secours médicaux, DSM), is responsible for:

  • collecting, stretchering (with previous triage if necessary) and transporting victims to the Advanced Medical Post (Poste médical avancé, PMA);
  • categorising, preparing
  • and evacuating injured and uninjured victims.

What is the role of the Collection Unit?

Within the medical chain, the role of the Collection Unit consists of:

  • assessing casualties in line with criteria related to severity or accessibility;
  • providing first aid to casualties;
  • transporting casualties to the Advanced Medical Post (PMA).

What is the role of the Advanced Medical Post (Poste médical avancé, PMA)?

Within the medical chain, the Advanced Medical Post is the centralised point for casualties on the ground, and its role consists of:

  • sorting casualties into three categories:
    • people who require immediate treatment for a life-threatening condition;
    • people who could benefit from less serious or less immediate care who are not in a life-threatening condition;
    • people with minor injuries who can wait for treatment.
  • providing medical care and preparing casualties for evacuation depending on which of the three categories they fall into.

 

What is the role of the Evacuation Unit?

Within the medical chain, the role of the Evacuation Unit consists of bundling and managing all the methods of transport (public and, if  necessary, private) to transport casualties to hospitals or reception  centres depending on the needs of the PMA and to ensure there is  appropriate medical monitoring during transportation.

 

What is the mortuary area?

En un endroit retiré près du Poste médical avancé (PMA), la zone de dépôt mortuaire sert

  • à recueillir et à identifier les corps des victimes décédées sur le site ou au PMA ;
  • à éviter tout risque supplémentaire dans le domaine de l’hygiène et de la salubrité publique ;
  • à assurer la gestion des cadavres suivant les rites funéraires habituels.

 

What is the procedure for evacuating and hospitalising casualties?

The procedure for evacuating and hospitalising casualties aims to ensure that they are processed in a coordinated manner into national hospitals and, where necessary, international hospitals in the event that national capacity is surpassed or if the services of foreign specialist centres are required.

What is the role of the reception service for those affected (Service accueil des impliqués, SAI)?

The reception service provides psychological and mental support for victims and those affected and provides care for people in shock or showing symptoms of post-traumatic shock by managing:

  • a Coordination and Information Cell (CIC) which manages all the information available;
  • a reception space for friends and family (LAFP) away from the press and public;
  • a reception space for those involved who were not injured (LAVI), away from the press and public;
  • a recovery zone, not accessible to the press or public, with psychological support being provided to the intervention teams (OASE);
  • a hotline to provide assistance.

 

What are the security perimeters?

The Grand Ducal Police establish security perimeters in order to guarantee the adequate implementation of the emergency response, putting in place:

  • an isolation perimeter which covers the entire disaster area;
  • a larger deterrent perimeter which directs and filters vehicle and people traffic affected by the event and those living within the perimeter;
  • an exclusion perimeter, if required, to which only specially equipped rescue services have access.

Will psychological support be provided even some time after the incident?

Upon request by the reception service for those involved (Service accueil des impliqués, SAI), mid- to long-term psychological support for victims, friends and families can be provided by the competent services within the Ministry of Family Affairs, in particular the permanent group for psychological trauma support.

Can Luxembourg count on international aid in the event of an emergency?

Bilateral agreements providing for mutual assistance in the event of a catastrophe or serious accident exist between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the three neighbouring countries.

Thanks to the European Union mechanism which aims to promote cooperation for emergency intervention in the area of civil protection, Luxembourg may, if necessary, request international assistance, either directly from other Member States or via the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).

In addition, Luxembourg may also request additional aid via NATO's Euro Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre through the intermediary of the High Commission for National Protection.

What information will the public receive?

The wider public will be informed of the changing situation by the government and via the websites www.infocrise.lu and www.hcpn.lu.

A government freephone number is also activated to enable direct communication between the public authorities and the population.

The number to call is 8002 7788, which is in use throughout the crisis, 24/7, manned by volunteers from the Rescue Services Agency's psychological support group or staff from the Grand Ducal Police's psychological service.

If you cannot find the answer to your question, do not hesitate to contact us.

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