Active Reserves soldiers built flood barriers in Dubeč this time
At the end of September, the City of Prague has been regularly holding exercises on the banks of the Vltava River to build flood barriers. Due to the unpredictable development of the Covid-19 pandemic, this time the exercise was not held near the river, but on the training polygon of the Administration of Services of the capital city of Prague in Dubeč.
The "Water 2021" exercise had two phases this year, when on 1 October selected units of the Volunteer Fire Brigade carried out the construction of flood barriers, and on 2 October a unit of soldiers of the Active Reserves of the Army of the Czech Republic continued the exercise. In total, 130 people took part in the exercise.
On Friday, from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., a unit of the Volunteer Fire Brigade was to build a flood barrier in the shape of a pool with a circumference of 70 metres and check its tightness. They pumped water into this pool using hoses from the nearby Lítožnice pond, thus practising long-distance transport of water over a distance of almost 1 kilometre. After completing the task, they pumped the water back into the pond and dismantled the flood defence. The Mayor of the Capital City of Prague MUDr. Zdeněk Hřib of Prague accompanied by JUDr. Markéta Štalmachová, Director of the Security Department, came to see the construction progress.
On Saturday morning at nine o'clock, sixteen soldiers of the Active Reserves (AR) infantry company of the Regional Military Headquarters of the capital city of Prague arrived at the site, under the command of the exercise manager for the Army of the Czech Republic, Major Ing. Petr Valtera and the commander of the infantry company, Captain Ing. Petr Hamann.
"During this exercise we want to renew the unit's ability to build flood barriers. To improve the command staff in the management of activities and organization of work on the assigned section of construction, to improve the orientation of AR soldiers in the documentation and the storage of elements in containers," said the director of the Regional Military Command of the capital city, Colonel of the General Staff Ing. Marián Margai.
Prior to the start of the construction, the AR soldiers were instructed in first aid and given the necessary protective equipment such as gloves and helmets. After opening the first container with parts for the construction of the flood defence, they first had to carefully study the technical plan.
Each container carries information on what section it holds and how many containers are needed for that particular section of construction. All sections are described and colour coded in the container. Under the expert supervision of the staff of the Capital City Services Administration, the containers are marked with the following information. Within three hours, the AR soldiers built the planned flood barrier.
After completing the task, the AR soldiers dismantled the barriers and placed them in the designated place. The workers of the Administration of the services of the capital city will first have to clean, treat and inspect the used parts, or replace the rubber seals. Only then can the individual components be put back in their place in the container to be ready for further use.
130 containers with mobile flood protection elements are stored in the Dubeč site, which will provide 7 of the total 20 kilometres of flood protection measures in Prague. As shown to me by the head of the emergency department Ing. Denisa Kroužková, each container is marked with a number and the name of the section where it belongs.
After previous experiences with floods, almost all of Prague is covered, whether it is fixed barriers, natural embankments or these mobile flood barriers. In addition to the containers, there is also the necessary handling equipment (forklifts, handling platforms, etc.) for unloading the material from the container, as well as equipment (cranes and trucks) for loading the containers onto the transporters.
According to Ing. Denisa Kroužková, the AR soldiers did an excellent job on Saturday. Everyone praised them very much because they were skilful and very careful. In conclusion, we can say that during the exercise "Water 2021", the IRS forces once again showed us how well they can work together. And also that AR soldiers are always ready to help them. Nevertheless, it is important to repeatedly practice interventions in crisis situations so that the speed and effectiveness of the intervention is as good as possible and unnecessary loss of property and lives is avoided.