EnBW’s rescue exercises are planned by occupational safety expert Jochen Kolb: “We have emergency procedures of course that everyone out here knows off by heart. But we also repeatedly conduct exercises out at sea. In a real emergency, every single move has to be spot on.”
Kolb assisted with the exercise from aboard the Bibby Wavemaster Horizon service vessel. In the scenario, a technician up in the nacelle had symptoms of a heart attack. A rescue helicopter was summoned and brought an emergency doctor out to the wind farm. The patient, simulated by a dummy, was winched up to the helicopter carrying the doctor and flown ashore. Then the message from the base in Emden: The helicopter had safely landed. A relief for Kolb: “We are well equipped for an emergency. Everyone on the team did exactly what they needed to.”
EnBW operates four offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea with a combined capacity of 976 megawatts (MW). The fifth and largest wind farm, the 900 megawatt He Dreiht, is set to go on stream in 2025 in the North Sea. Responsibility for rescues at its offshore wind farms lies with EnBW itself.
“We have very high safety standards offshore. That pays off: Our technicians have had very few accidents so far, and they have all been minor,” said Ralf Neulinger, Head of Production at EnBW.
Northern Helicopter GmbH stands at the ready around the clock with a crew and an emergency doctor for deployment at sea. Coordination is contracted out to marine emergency management specialists GMN in Bremen. The service vessel also has medically trained staff on board and a treatment room. Digital assistance is available by telemedicine. Specially trained personnel in a hospital, for example, can instruct the crew member to connect up an ECG. The data is transmitted back to the hospital, enabling remote diagnosis while the vessel is still out at sea.