Swiss Civil Defense Story
Switzerland, a tiny landlocked country in central Europe, has had a long standing policy of armed neutrality. Completely surrounded by warring world powers during both world wars, the Swiss have been able to avoid war and retain their freedom by virtue of being too expensive to conquer. The rugged terrain of their country is also a factor. In addition to a rather large citizen army (700,000 in 1999), they have deployed the world’s most effective civil defense program and consider it an integral part of their nation’s defense.
Since the 1970’s, Switzerland’s building codes have required the incorporation of hardened shelters into the construction of new apartment buildings, homes, businesses, churches, hospitals, and factories. Shelters must be built to rigid government specifications and utilize only components approved by the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Defense (BZS). This demand for approved shelter equipment created a national industry in Switzerland which continues to this day. If threatened, the Swiss can shelter its entire population of seven and one half million citizens in blast hardened shelters on short notice.
The population of Switzerland is well trained in subjects ranging from weapons effects, first aid, shelter management, and rescue techniques. Shelter drills are conducted along with large scale exercises to familiarize the citizenry with shelter life. It only follows that many millions of man-hours of experience have been gained from these exercises, and modifications to shelters and related equipment designs have evolved into today’s proven shelter component lineup. In addition, the Swiss government testing agencies have conducted numerous (and on-going) destructive testing of shelter designs and components. This is done by building prototype shelters and then challenging them with live high explosive ordnance. Because of this fierce determination to remain neutral and free, the Swiss are driven to produce only the finest shelter equipment to be found.
Whether you are building a steel shelter, a re-enforced concrete shelter, or a safe-room, we can help you select and integrate the proper Andair AG components to do the job right.