Participation of the Crisis Information Centre in the tactical exercise "Stalowa Wola HCP 2023".
CIK CBK PAN team, together with representatives of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) and the Regional Water Management Board (RZGW) in Rzeszów, provided the necessary support in coordinating flights of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and obtaining and processing geospatial information for the exercises. The 3rd Subcarpathian Territorial Defense Brigade provided an imagery reconnaissance team equipped with an airframe drone with a long flight range. Thirty-eight deputies of the State Fire Service and Volunteer Fire Service were delegated to participate, including specialized groups: water and diving rescue and sonar, high capacity pump module, as well as experts representing other services, entities and institutions relevant to the nature of the simulated threats.
The exercise scenario included a number of different episodes related to the flood threat. One of the elements was a check of the procedures for alerting and dispatches of the Subcarpathian HCP (high-capacity pumps) module for duty outside the country's borders. For the exercise, a border point was simulated, where the rescuers underwent customs and passport clearance. The module then arrived at a designated point where a base of operations was built - an out-of-country encampment containing accommodations, a logistics section as well as a command post, and afterwards the team began night operations using specialized pumps carried in the equipment. Another episode involved a search of the bottom of a body of water using sonar, followed by frogmen's activities in lifting and extracting a vehicle sunk in the body of water. There were also the "classic" tasks of firefighters during floods, i.e. pumping water out of flooded areas, raising the crest of an embankment or plugging hydraulic punctures.
Hydrologists from RZGW Rzeszów, together with GIS specialists from CIK, provided the necessary expert support to the chief of staff of the ongoing operations in terms of the possibility of acquiring and processing geo-information, demonstrating the simulation of flooding of an area with a potential washout of a flood embankment.
The special component of the exercise concerning the development of an optimal model for conducting drone operations during flood risk included two key elements. The first one was focused on testing the ability of drones to monitor the condition of embankments and detect damage symptoms (based on realistic means of simulating deformation of the embankment body, hydraulic punctures and seepage, as well as water stagnation resulting from them), carried out by UAV pilots from RZGW Rzeszów The second element included the use of the FlyEye airframe, operated by the 3rd Subcarpathian Territorial Defense Brigade, to test the platform's suitability for detecting such incidents and its use in support of the activities of the State Fire Service, the Provincial Crisis Management Center and the RZGW.
The Air Operations Manager (KOL) on site received support from qualified experts from PANSA and CIK, and had the opportunity to participate in the testing of Search & Help software (conceptually developed with experts from CIK and implemented by PANSA as a specialized flight reporting tool for crisis management entities and emergency services) dedicated to coordinating unmanned flights over the incident area. On the second day of operations, after the field episodes, an additional staff episode was carried out, in which KOLs and UAV pilots practiced an advanced scenario on cooperation and flight guidance of UAS and manned aircrafts.
The course and results of the exercise were presented during the last element of the exercise - an external meeting of the Provincial Crisis Management Board (WZZK) with the participation of representatives of the Provincial Headquarters of the State Fire Service and the Police, the Regional Water Management Board in Rzeszow, the 3rd Subcarpathian Territorial Defense Brigade and local authorities at the district and municipal levels. Representatives of CIK and PANSA took the floor as experts during the WZZK meeting, discussing the implementation of the stated objectives of the exercise in terms of the possibility of using UAVs to monitor the flood situation and coordinating the flights of multiple drones over the area of operations.