The Meuse-Rhine Euroregion Incident Control and Crisis Management (EMRIC) is a collaboration of public services responsible for public safety throughout the territory. The network includes fire services, technical assistance and emergency medical care, and was developed to:
- provide local citizens with the quickest available assistance;
- offer assistance during large-scale incidents in order to ensure sufficient equipment and capacity;
- exchange knowledge, expertise and technical know-how;
The collaboration is organized by a steering group EMRIC, which is in charge of defining the five-year strategic objectives of the network, three focus groups, and multiple working and project groups. Within this structure, not only are EMRIC-partners represented, but other organisations with knowledge and expertise in the fields of healthcare, firefighting, disaster and accident management, and dealing with hazardous substances.
Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands (Meuse-Rhine Euroregion).
EMRIC was initially set up in 2006 as an Interreg project, funded under the Interreg programme EUREGIO Meuse-Rhine. At the end of the project stakeholders agreed to continue the cooperation outside the programme and currently the 7 original partners all contribute to financing the EMRIC office on a voluntary basis: the public health service and the fire department of the Zuid Limburg (NL), the city of Aachen (DE), the Aachen district (DE), the Heinsberg district (DE) and the provinces of Limburg (NL) and Liège (BE).
The establishment of a coordinated safety service in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion took place in a challenging context because of the different operational and legal systems and languages which characterize the 3 countries. However, thanks to the establishment of various bi-lateral and European agreements, the use of a common dictionary, and regular meetings and training, EMRIC has made a significant contributing to strong cross-border cooperation over a number of years.
Currently, about 900 ambulances and 300 fire trucks cross the border to deliver fast and adequate assistance in case of emergencies. During the pandemic crisis, this network proved itself to be very effective: the involvement of actors engaged in the provision of healthcare services made possible to transfer Dutch patients to a German hospital with greater availability of intensive care facilities.