DO22 - English -

Participants wanted for disaster exercise in Dortmund on 07/05/2022

What can I expect if I take part?

The exercise in Dortmund will take place on Saturday, 07/05/2022. PROACTIVE is represented on the German side by the German Police University (DHPol) in cooperation with the Dortmund Fire Brigade. The location of the exercise is Dortmund, the exact address and other logistic details will be announced once you receive an invitation for the exercise. The time frame for the exercise ranges from morning to late afternoon. Food and drink will be provided throughout the day. Furthermore, participants will receive a voucher for their efforts, which can be redeemed in shops in Dortmund.

Before the exercise, a provided consent form must be signed. Moreover, a briefing session detailing the nature of the exercise and related data processing will be conducted before the exercise starts.

The exercise will examine the behaviour of a cross-section of the population that unexpectedly comes into contact with a hazardous substance due to an accident and is therefore to be decontaminated. For this purpose, a fictitious but realistic scenario will be set up to simulate the accident.

All participants must wear sturdy shoes and swimwear under their street clothes. Those not wearing swimwear will not be allowed to participate in the exercise. To avoid loss or damage, please do not wear jewels, watches, etc. or bring other valuable items. For the decontamination process it may be necessary to temporarily remove walking aids, visual aids, hearing aids, CI devices, etc. If necessary, please point this out to the emergency personnel before undressing so that they can take care of it. A detailed description is given on the participation forms. You will receive these if you have been selected for participation.

The exercise will take place outdoors. It is based on a simulated accident that triggers a hazardous substance spill. Due to its rapid spread, the study participants will come into contact with the imaginary hazardous substance. From a medical and tactical point of view, the characteristics of the hazardous substance and the amount spilled and thus absorbed by the study participants will require decontamination to prevent further damage. Decontamination must take place on site so that no distribution or transfer of the hazardous substance to other people can happen. In order to make the situation more tangible for all participants, a white, harmless fog is used at certain points to simulate the release of the hazardous substance.

No real substances are used in the exercise, i.e., there is no risk for the participants to come into contact with hazardous substances during the exercise.

Various response units of the Dortmund Fire Brigade will be alerted, in particular the decontamination unit for injured people. Realistically, this unit will carry out the decontamination. The alerted firefighters will arrive at the scene. The firefighters will treat the simulation like a real case and equip themselves accordingly with their personal protective equipment. Thus, they will wear their personal protective equipment including a respirator and gloves. The commanders will investigate the situation, coordinate the operation and determine the further measures applied by the units. As soon as the decontamination unit is ready for action, the decontamination of the study participants will begin.

In the decontamination tent, the firefighters will give the participants instructions on how to decontaminate, assist if necessary and, if self-decontamination is not possible, they will carry out the shower routine for the participants. The exercise follows a realistic CBRNe operation, i.e., the participants are "cleaned" wet. For this reason, all participants must wear swimwear under their street clothes. For the decontamination, the volunteers undress down to their swimwear and remove everything that could be contaminated in a real-life scenario. The items are stored in clothing bags and returned after decontamination. To make the scenario as realistic as possible, non-heated water will be used.

After the decontamination shower, the exercise is finished. The participants will be given blankets and it will be ensured that they can dry immediately. Afterwards, they can dress. Following the exercise, the participants will be questioned about their experience during the exercise. The exercise is scheduled to end in late afternoon.

What is observed?

During the exercise, two aspects are observed and documented: first, the behaviour of the participants before, during and after the decontamination through observers, and second, the behaviour of the decontaminating unit. The behaviour of the emergency forces is significant, as they have to adjust individually to each participant due to the inclusion of a cross-section of the population (i.e., civilians of different ages, different origins, with and without disabilities, etc.).

Am I eligible to participate?

About 40 civilian volunteers are expected to take part in the exercise. Ten of them should represent the particularly vulnerable groups within society, i.e., those with mobility restrictions, hearing and visual impairments or no knowledge of the local language, etc.

To participate in the exercise, you must be of legal age. Please notice that you have to be double vaccinated and boostered to participate in the exercise. Furthermore, a COVID-19 antigen test will be conducted on site at the day of the exercise. Since the fire brigade is a critical infrastructure, a mask (FFP 2, KN95 or N95) must also be worn throughout the exercise. The mask can, of course, be removed for the food and drink breaks.

Given any previous experience with the subject, please do not register if you are active in an emergency response organisation.

What do I have to consider before deciding to participate?

The dignity and safety of the participants is a major key focus of PROACTIVE. That is why PROACTIVE has its own thematic research area that explicitly deals with data protection aspects and ethical aspects in the context of the exercises. Before the exercise, participants have to sign a provided consent form.

Which are the risks involved in research?

The exercise will be conducted in a controlled area with systematic access control supervised by the Dortmund Fire Brigade. No specific legal, social, physical (such as discomfort or injury resulting from the involvement of physical stimuli such as heat or cold) or psychological risks (such as anxiety or shock related to the simulated event) are anticipated. The use of water during decontamination will be managed carefully, so that no harm is derived from it. Concerning risks related to loss of data confidentiality, the use of identifiable information is based on your permission and your privacy rights will be protected against injury or illegal invasions by conducting anonymization and encryption of data. In this regard, particular care will be put in handling sensitive data, such as the disability status of participants.

Background of project PROACTIVE?

The European research project PROACTIVE (PReparedness against CBRNE threats through cOmmon Approaches between security praCTItioners and the VulnerablE civil society) with project number 832981 is funded by the European Commission. The exercise in Dortmund is co-financed by the project.

The aim of PROACTIVE is to optimise CBRNe management concepts with regard to the efficient handling of large and diverse groups of affected persons. This will be done primarily by taking into account the needs of members of the public including vulnerable groups of people (children, older persons, people with visual, hearing and/or mobility impairments, etc.). CBRNe refers to chemical (C), biological (B), radioactive (R), nuclear (N) or explosive (e) substances.

In order to stop the harmful effects of the hazardous substances on the people affected as quickly as possible, those affected must be cleansed in many cases of the hazardous substances. This process is called decontamination. It involves washing the body until the hazardous substance is completely removed from the skin. This process is important because the hazardous substances can be transferred by touching or inhaling vapours released by the hazardous substance. For those affected, this means they should get into a safe place, but not run away, because only then can they be treated quickly and professionally by the emergency forces of the fire brigade or another emergency organisation. In addition, this prevents the transfer of the hazardous substance from those affected to other people.

At the start of the project, the existing management concepts were analysed and the expected needs of the civil society (here: potentially affected persons) in case of a CBRNe incident were surveyed. Furthermore, a Mobile phone Application CBRNe for citizens was developed. The upcoming exercise will be followed by a detailed investigation of the measures applied by emergency forces and the experience of the participating study participants.

In addition to the exercise in Dortmund (07/05/2022), two further exercises are planned in Rieti/Italy (October 2022) and Ranst/Belgium (May 2023).


If you are interested, please send us an e-mail with the subject reference SURNAME_FIRSTNAME_RegistrationDo22 to by 14/04/2022.

Please copy/paste the following in the e-mail:
I voluntarily consent to sharing my personal information with DHPol and for this information to be used for registration.

The personal information we are interested in is: your full name, your age, your place of residence and any relevant vulnerabilities (limited mobility, visual impairment, limited knowledge of the German language, etc.). You should live in the region of Dortmund.

Please read the data protection section for more information.

Data protection

Please note that your above personal data will be stored by the German Police University (DHPol), acting as Data Controller. We only collect your data if you provide us voluntarily with this information. We process your personal data based on your e-mail consent.

The data will only be used for the purpose of selecting and contacting you in the context of this exercise. This data will not be passed on without your consent via the participation forms. You will receive these if you have been selected for participation. Acceptances and declines will be communicated by e-mail no later than 14th of April.

No third parties or recipients will access your data as part of the registration process. Furthermore, we take reasonable steps to protect personal data as you transmit it to us and to protect such information from loss, misuse, and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction. The data will be deleted within 60 days if you finally decide not to take part in the exercise.

You can exercise your rights of access, rectification, deletion, portability, limitation and opposition to the treatment of your data, by contacting DHPol Data Protection Officer at You also have the right to lodge a complaint with a competent supervisory authority in accordance with the GDPR and the applicable laws if you consider that the processing of personal data relating to you infringes the GDPR. In case we further process your data as part of the exercise, we will explicitly request your consent for this new processing.

What do I do if I still have questions?

A detailed briefing of all participants will take place on site on the day of the exercise.

If you have any questions about the exercise/project, you are welcome to contact us in advance:

Andreas Arnold (
Tel: 02501 806 815
Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei
Zum Roten Berge 18-24
48165 Münster
Danielle Carbon (
Tel: 02501 806 817
Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei
Zum Roten Berge 18-24
48165 Münster
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Friday 28 January 2022