Siemens and the charitable association Siemens Caring Hands e.V. are supporting the Stiftung Bergwacht, a non-profit foundation for mountain rescue services, with a donation of €500,000. The foundation will use the donation to further develop the Bavarian Mountain Rescue Service’s Center for Safety and Training in Bad Tölz, Germany, and thus improve disaster prevention in Germany and Europe. Half the donation is from Siemens employees and half from Siemens AG. The funds are part of a donation pool that Siemens set up in 2021 in response to the flood disaster on the Ahr River in the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria. Over the past two years, €2.8 million from the pool has been used to support 25 emergency, reconstruction and prevention projects.
“We at Siemens consider it part of our identity and our social responsibility to provide quick and unbureaucratic assistance in difficult and sometimes even life-threatening situations,” said Judith Wiese, member of the Managing Board and Chief People and Sustainability Officer of Siemens AG. “The flood disaster on the Ahr River caused devastating damage in many parts of Germany. Some of this damage has still not been repaired. In this exceptional situation, mountain rescue teams and all other players involved in disaster prevention made an indispensable contribution by protecting the population, rescuing people and animals and repairing the necessary infrastructure. People who – sometimes at the risk of their own lives – save others in such extreme situations deserve our deepest respect.”
The importance of the Mountain Rescue Service Center in Bad Tölz extends far beyond Bavaria’s borders: the Center is a crucial hub for the cooperation and crisis management of emergency responders from all over Germany and Europe. Since 2009, emergency service volunteers from the Bavarian Mountain Rescue Service, in particular, have been training at the Center as have professional disaster protection experts from all emergency services. In the simulation unit, the only facility of its kind worldwide, rescue teams can – among other things – train for helicopter and aerial-tramway operations. Emergency responders also have access to a so-called mountain-weather room, where they can train for extreme weather conditions, such as temperatures as low as minus 20° Celsius and heavy fog, wind and rain.
Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann is delighted by the generous donation: “This is money excellently invested for the great work of the many volunteers. Our mountain rescue team saves lives around the clock 365 days a year – and often under difficult conditions. To ensure that every move its members make in an emergency is correct, they need the best possible training and educational opportunities. I’d like to express my sincere thanks to Siemens for this remarkable commitment and, in particular, to all the Siemens employees who donated around half of this substantial amount. The State of Bavaria has always been a reliable partner as well and actively supports the Mountain Rescue Service. In the last three years alone, we’ve provided the Service with more than €8.6 million for equipment and vehicles,” said the Minister.
Opened 14 years ago, the Center in Bad Tölz has now reached its spatial and technological limits. The Mountain Rescue Service and the Stiftung Bergwacht want to use the donation to expand the facility, broaden its international connections and provide additional space for training and education. The expansion will also create capacity for emergency resources and rescue equipment and help improve the Center’s digitalization and communications. The donation from Siemens Caring Hands is the cornerstone of the project’s implementation and a key element of its financing. In addition to grants from the State of Bavaria, the foundation relies on support from partners in business and society as well as individuals.
Siemens Caring Hands e.V. is a charitable association that was founded at the initiative of Siemens AG in 2001. The association is especially active in providing support in major emergencies and pursues charitable and non-profit purposes. These include backing assistance for disaster victims, supporting fire / disaster / civil protection and promoting development of the public health system.