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Germany: Order’s Emergency Corps’ specialised units

Volunteers are trained up for crisis care

Cologne, 1 April 2020

Infection control in a Malteser Relief Service ambulance. Photo Haefner/Malteser

The Order of Malta’s facilities in Germany include hospitals, schools, academies for training paramedics, first aid units and a range of social care projects. All the social care activities are now closed. As a result, current measures are telephone contact, shopping services for the housebound, meals on wheels.
Marcus Bensmann, Head of civil protection and disaster relief for Emergency Corps of the German Association of the Order of Malta, has five years of extensive experience in the civil protection sector. He describes the focus of Corps’ work: Support has always been centred around closeness and care for those in need. He explains that the Emergency Corps of the German Association of the Order of Malta has over 10,000 volunteers , plus 4,000 drivers (professionals in transport services). The cars cannot be deployed as those services have been shut down and so the drivers are being moved into ambulance services.

The Emergency Corps is also training its paramedics for crisis care, with the CISM method – the qualification promotes internationally recognised security practices and provides standards in the specific field of crisis intervention, and is providing 30 teams (each of 3-5 helpers) to cover the psychology sector. The medical Emergency Corps’ in general is divided into two close-knit sections: civil protection run by 10,000 volunteers; and a unit of 6,500 professionals in the ambulance sector. The main challenge now is to provide enough personal protection kits, as they are single use only, so sourcing for stocks is underway.

Mr Bensmann concludes: ‘The world will build up stocks of ventilators and masks. And for the future, closeness will return.

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.