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The evolution of civil protection


A brief and comprehensive overview of the origins and development of emergency management and response from 1937 until the present day.

A brief and comprehensive overview of the origins and development of emergency management and response from 1937 until the present day.

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  • 1. The evolution of civil protection David Alexander University College London
  • 2. First to emerge was civil defence, a system designed to protect the non- combatent population against armed aggression, above all by a foreign power.
  • 3. DEFINITION: Civil defence means a centralised system at the level of national government designed to protect institutions and their employees, and eventually the non-combatent general population, against the effects of a state of war or the risk of fighting on the home front.
  • 4. Modern civil defence was born at the battle of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War (1937).
  • 5. 1940s: the early development of civil defence • air raid precautions • civil guards (paramilitary forces) • civilian management of war wounded.
  • 6. "From Stettin in the Baltico Sea to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has fallen on the Continent [of Europe]." Winston Churchill: Speech at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, 5 March 1946. The Cold War
  • 7. With the arrival of the Cold War (i.e., from 1948 onwards) civil defence changed its form. It began to focus on preparations for a thermonuclear exchange. • nuclear bunkers and under- ground command centres • robust communications • secrecy • military command, and paramilitary auxiliaries • extraordinary powers ready to be used.
  • 8. The 1970s and 1980s were a period of slow decline in civil defence, because:- • withdrawal from the Cold War mentality • increasing impacts of natural hazards • demonstrable futility of preparations for nuclear war • political détente on the international stage • evident need for new forms of organisation against disasters.
  • 9. The 1970s and 1980s • political polarisation put a brake on the development of civil protection • further impediments were caused by scandals and political corruption 1989 - the fall of the Berlin Wall The decline of authoritarianism.
  • 10. The 1990s: at last civil protection emerges • it responds to a change in strategic priorities - increased emphasis on peacetime activities • with the end of the Cold War there are fewer excuses to repress the population • also, the risk of coup d'etat is reduced • the age of the international disaster begins, humanitarian intervention grows.
  • 11. June 1990: the United Nations inaugurates the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) • 140 nations establish national IDNDR committees • a few large international projects are created (e.g., Radius, a project for the reduction of urban seismic risk) • two large strategic conferences are organised at the world level.
  • 12. • the degree of success was limited: in ten years the IDNDR did not halve the impact of disasters, as specified among its objectives • but the Decade did assist the development of international collaboration and the formulation of strategies designed to combat natural disasters.
  • 13. New models of organisation of civil prot. • increasing impact of information technology • greater global collaboration on DRR • civilian disaster managers begin to eclipse the military ones • there is an urgent need to organise civil protection at the local level • more disasters, more stimulus, better protection and more demand for training.
  • 14. Civil protection is finally differentiated from civil defence • it is organised at the local level, with harmonisation provided by higher levels of public administration • it is more explicitly a service for the general public • it must tackle natural and man-made hazards of a non-strategic nature.
  • 15. Armed aggression on the part of states Civil defence Natural disasters Civil protection Armed aggression on the part of groups of dissidents "Homeland security" (civil defence) "Generic" disasters "Civil contingencies" (resilience)
  • 16. Natural disasters Techno- logical disasters Social disasters Inten- tional disasters Natural Anthropogenic Civil defence Civil contingencies and Resilience Civil protection "Homeland Security"
  • 17. The 2000s: growth of civil protection accompanied by the return of civil defence • terrorism assumes a new form that provokes a reorganisation and return of civil defence • there is a constant increase in the professionality of civil protection operatives.
  • 18. • is the field internationalising sufficiently? • is training sufficient? • is emergency management a profession, or should it be one? • as a result of 9/11 have we regressed to old models of organisation?. Questions that have not yet been properly answered (1):
  • 19. • What should be our standards? • Is civil protection sufficiently democratic? • Do we have the support of the public? • How much structural protection? • Will civil protection adapt itself quickly enough and sufficiently to changes in society and hazards?. Questions that have not yet been properly answered (2):
  • 20. • Are there fashions in civil protection? • Can we afford all of this? • Central control or devolution? • What does efficiency mean in civil protection terms? • Will we be able to keep the problem of disasters under control?. Questions that have not yet been properly answered (3):
  • 22. Courses planned Minimum hours Refresher course Courses for civil protection volunteers Basic level 27 hrs 8 hrs Specialist level variable 8 Task force level 30 8 Course for public emergency managers 200 36 Course for municipal emergency planners 60 8 Information courses for the general public variable -- Courses for spokespersons 20 8 First degrees and master's degrees regu- lation --
  • 23. Recognition and an institutional role for the professional figure Certification of competence Training programmes Emerging professional figure Policies and legislation Research Experience Organi- sation
  • 24. There are various innovations in the system of command of modern civil protection • information technology has had the effect of flattening the chain of command • there is more emphasis on autonomous task forces and less on command and control.
  • 25. • information sharing and collaboration are being substituted for rigid military and paramilitary hierarchies • with the assistance of training courses, emergency planning and management are beginning to become a fully-fledged profession.
  • 26. From command and control to the incident command system ICS: a modular system for directing emergency operations, starting at the site of the incident and organised from the bottom up.
  • 27. The incident command system - advantages • flexible and modular • with a base at the site • the emergency operations grow organically in relation to the forces available in the field • the incident commander constitutes the task forces according to needs. • non-hierarchical
  • 28. • based on 'horizontal' collaboration instead of a 'vertical' chain of command • increases information sharing among task forces • divides command according to span of control for ease of management • easy to transfer command from one person to another at the incident site. The incident command system - advantages
  • 29. • it does not work well if personnel are not well integrated into the structure of command • it is difficult to direct 'from above' • it is not idea for very large emergencies that require a more centralised command. The incident command system - disadvantages
  • 30. Civil protection must adapt itself with great rapidity and flexibility to.... • continual changes in natural and anthropogenic hazards • continual changes in human society and its vulnerability • emerging risks, such as SARS and avian influenza.
  • 31. • needs, opportunities and limitations created by the political system in which it exists • changes in the demand for safety and security manifested by the population, public administrators and businesses. Civil protection must adapt itself with great rapidity and flexibility to....
  • 33. Now the challenge is to democratise civil protection so as to induce the public to assume more responsibility for its own safety and security. [X]