Introductory Module «The EU Civil Protection Mechanism» describes the European Civil Protection Mechanism and
the national Civil Protection systems of the
partner countries involved into the Project (Greece, United Kingdom, Italy and
Portugal). The objective is to provide an overview of the EU Civil Protection
Mechanism and the various institutional and operational set-ups of the Civil
Protection systems in Europe. In particular, the general characteristics of the national
Civil Protection and Civil Protection Volunteering systems will be
described as well as the role of Civil Protection volunteering training. The
data and information included into this Module are the result of the field and
desk researches conducted by the Partners in their countries during the first phase
of the “CiProVoT-Civil Protection Volunteers Training” project
co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme: Key Action
2, Strategic Partnership in the field
of Adult education.
Disasters have always been a result of human interaction with nature, technology and other living entities. Sometimes unpredictable and sudden, sometimes slow and lingering, various types of disasters continually affect the way in which we live our daily lives. Human beings as innovative creatures have sought new ways in which to curb the devastating effects of disasters. However, for years human conduct regarding disasters has been reactive in nature. Communities, sometimes aware of the risks that they face, would wait in anticipation of a disastrous event and then activate plans and procedures. Human social and economic development has further contributed to creating vulnerability and thus weakening the ability of humans to cope with disasters and their effects. Disasters impede human development. Gains in development are inextricably linked to the level of exposure to disaster risk within any given community. In the same light, the level of disaster risk prevalent in a community is linked to the developmental choices exerted by that community (UNDP, 2004).
When an emergency occurs, every minute counts to minimise negative impacts on humans, the economy and the environment. To achieve this goal, integrated emergency management is needed. The European Union has different tools to support national stakeholders in the management of emergencies, such as the European Joint Research Centre, continuously conducting research to improve crisis management and disaster prevention, and the Copernicus earth observation programme, functioning as an early warning system in the case of natural or human-made hazards. Still, political and private stakeholders need to take charge of the emergency management in their working and individual contexts, preferably implementing an Integrated Emergency Management, which focuses on all four phases of Prevention and Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. Thus, emergency management shifts from the pure response to already occurring events and damage control to an integrated cycle of mitigating and preventing risks in the first place as well as being prepared in case of an emergency, thus guaranteeing a fast and structured response and recovery. To respond effectively, knowledge of basic concepts is needed. A useful instrument to make the shift from a predominantly responsive system to integrated management can be Emergency Response Plans. If created and implemented correctly, these can be of high value to crisis managers, as they are clarifying roles and responsibilities as well as procedures and available resources in case of emergency.
Disaster management is standing on three crucial phases like preparedness, prevention and mitigation. Disaster preparedness highlights warnings and forecasts of impending disasters and often entails processes which are quite dynamic and results in a "rapid onset" disaster. Disaster prevention is a long term activity where satellite monitoring of relevant factors such as changing land use, population growth is the main criteria. Communication of information about a disaster to a population at risk and appropriate actions to mitigate that hazard is an essential part of information technology.
This chapter provides a description of ICT technologies