IMPORTANT NOTE: Relocation of the Tracing Service Hamburg Office

We are moving


ملاحظة هامة: نقل مكتب هامبورغ لخدمات البحث عن المفقودين

ملاحظة هامة
ستجد هنا وصفًا لكيفية الوصول إلى الموقع الجديد لخدمة البحث عن المفقودين التابعة للصليب الأحمر الألماني في هامبورغ.

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Link to the international Tracing Service Network Family Links Network

GRC Tracing Service in your area:

GRC Regional and District Offices for Disaster Tracing Inquiries

GRC assistance system
Work of the Information Offices
Accomodation of the Information Offices
Training the volunteers


A major incident or disaster normally involves a large number of injured and evacuated people.

Experiences gained throughout several terrible disasters and incidents in the recent past demonstrate the necessity of the GRC Tracing Service’s work and its Information Offices for Families:

In such cases, relatives, acquaintances and friends of victims can turn to the German Red Cross to obtain information about a missing relative.

The GRC assistance system

The German Government assigned the GRC with the task to provide the so-called National Information Bureau in times of armed conflicts. In addition, most of the Federal states provide the legal basis for the GRC to deploy its nationwide network of information offices for families in the event of a disaster or major incident.

The GRC, employing the GRC regional and district branches, sets up Information Offices for Families in accordance with the provisions of the state legislation regarding disaster protection. In 10 Federal states there are currently concrete agreements in this respect between the lower disaster protection authorities and the GRC.

This assistance provided by the GRC Tracing Service for missing relatives thus supplements in a meaningful way the traditional range of services provided under civil defence.

The complex assistance system of the GRC guarantees integration and structured collaboration with all other specialized services provided by the GRC, such as emergency psycho-social care, the care service and the medical and rescue services.

How do the Information Offices for Families work?

Data recording in the GRC district information bureau by tracing service volunteers. GRC tracing service)

In an Information Office for Families operated by the GRC Tracing Service, information about those affected by disasters and incidents is collected, organised systematically and processed if necessary. The information can thus be provided professionally and speedily to those family members searching for someone.

By efficiently dovetailing each step of the work flow – starting with the registration of those affected at the collection points or subsequently in hospitals and emergency shelters up to providing information to relatives - the procedure in the event of a disaster is continuous and integrated.

The registration documents and information received are stored at the GRC District Office for Disaster Tracing Inquiries both in a manual file and also electronically ("Xenios").

This two-tier working method guarantees the ability of the GRC personal information offices to provide information in any disaster scenario and also with critical infrastructure.

Where do the Information Offices for Families work?

The Information Offices are primarily accommodated in the offices of the GRC district branches and due to this can make use of the already existing resources such as telephones, PCs, office materials etc. Sometimes there is also the possibility of setting up offices in the premises of district administrations and other authorities. In order to be able to collect information directly in the field in specific operations, there is also the possibility in some regional branches of setting up mobile information offices. The vehicles used for this are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and are used to support the workers in the field and to convey to colleagues the information collected.

At the GRC Tracing Service Munich Office, a 24/7 call centre equipped for 12 employees is ready for operation. It is especially designed for events of an international nature but also as the central information point for national disasters to support the regional GRC institutions.

Connections with other assistance services

Training the volonteers

Briefing on how to handle missing relatives. (Photo: GRC)

Since 2011, every volunteer working at the District Office for Disaster Tracing Inquiries (KAB) receives a comprehensive qualification by taking part in the specialized Tracing Service training (information provision during conflicts and disasters) so that they can react appropriately when working in an operation. The newly devised training comprises 5 modules; they impart future volunteers with information including the fundamentals of the Tracing Service work, how information centres operate as well as the handling of the IT structure used ("Xenios"). Due to the fact that the GRC Tracing Service is also an important interface when it comes to providing psychosocial care, the volunteers-to-be also improve their communication skills and learn how to recognize psychosocial emergencies during the training. They thus learn the basic methods for the sensitive handling of those affected. In the final module of the training, module number 5, the volunteers then have the opportunity to use their new skills in practice: within the framework of a simulated disaster, it becomes clear how a KAB functions in an emergency.

Are you interested in working in a District Office for Disaster Tracing Inquiries in your area? You can obtain more detailed information here.


Complementing police work

In view of the increased need for information that family members in crisis situations have and the challenge this poses in terms of time, especially in the acute phase of a disaster, the GRC Information Offices for Families complement the police work with regard to the search for missing persons. The focus of the GRC Tracing Service in this area is not to determine where they are, but on providing appropriate assistance as well as immediate information regarding the whereabouts of missing family members to those seeking help.