Urban Apartment Blaze: Mass Evacuation

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Large fire in apartment building in urban area. 200-300 people had to be evacuated. The entire building burned down and cannot be used for residential purposes.
Vanløse (Copenhagen)
Involved Organisations:
Copenhagen Fire Department
Publishing Organisation

Hovedstadens beredskab (HBR)





  • Ensuring Credible Information
  • Making Information Accessible
  • Mobilising Citizens
  • Targeting Communication
Disaster Management Phase

After, During


A citizen called 112 and reported smoke emanating from the residential building. The emergency services secured live streaming from the incident. The operator sent an SMS to the citizens and could then follow the fire development via the citizen's phone. The live stream was available in emergency vehicles, emergency services and operations managers, as well as the police. The fire developed very quickly. It therefore became necessary to evacuate all the residents of the property.

The residents were evacuated to an evacuation center set up by the Greater Copenhagen Fire Department.
What was the overall goal of the Use Case?

To ensure the evacuation of the affected citizens and support their need for information about the incident and their situation. Thus, it was clearly communicated that it was not possible to return to the apartments.

The residents were offered rehousing and social and insurance support.
What worked well and could be recommended to others?

The personal contact with the citizens of the evacuation center worked well. Individual consideration was given to residents with special needs, e.g. pets were collected from cordoned off apartments.

The Greater Copenhagen Fire Department now has access (in 2023) to S! RENEN, Denmark's mobile-based public warning system. This would have made a big difference in terms of being able to provide residents with accurate messages about the incident, developments and actionable information.
What limitations were identified?

It was difficult to get in touch with the residents about relevant info.

The Greater Copenhagen Fire Department was pressed on their internal communication resources.
Which guidelines were used?
  • non
Which social media platforms were used?
Which hashtags or keywords were used?
#HBR, #Grøndalsparkvej