Bulgaria - Disaster management structure
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Bulgaria consists of 28 districts (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofia, Sofiya-Grad, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa and Yambol. The heads (governors) of the administrative units (districts) are appointed by the national government.
According to the Act on Amendments and Supplements to the Ministry of the Interior Act, which has been in force since 24 November 2009, the Civil Protection Directorate-General (DG Fire Safety and Civil Protection) became part of the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The DG Fire Safety and Civil Protection is a national specialised structure of the Ministry of the Interior responsible for performing tasks related to prevention and preparedness, management, reaction and recovery in case of natural and man-made disasters. At central administration level, the DG Fire Safety and Civil Protection –Ministry of the Interior is divided into three main departments:
1. The Operational Activities Department, which includes:
- The Situation Centre Sector
- The Space Monitoring Centre Sector
- The Rescue and Urgent Emergency Recovery Activities Sector
- The Communication and Information Systems Sector
- The Crisis Management and Defence and Mobilisation Preparedness Sector
- The International Cooperation Sector.
2. The Prevention Activities Department, which includes:
- The Engineering Protection Sector
- The CBRN Protection Sector
- The Preparedness for Disasters Protection Sector
- The Recovery and Assistance Sector.
3. The Administrative Activities Department, which includes:
- The HR Sector
- The Financial Services Sector
- The Property Management and Economic Activities Sector
- The Secretariat Sector
- The Legal Services Sector
- The International Projects Sector.
At regional level, 28 administrations of the the DG Fire Safety and Civil Protection are established and functioning in each geographic region (district) of the country.
There are defined Civil Protection - Interagency Levels of Command, Control and Coordination in case of emergencies and disasters at regional and national levels. Regional governors and mayors are responsible for the coordination and management of the rescue efforts on the territory of the region and in the municipalities.
There are Operational Communication and Information Centres (OCICs) in all 28 regions. The Situation Centre of the DG Fire Safety and Civil Protection -MoI conducts the overall coordination in case of disasters.
At national level, the overall task of the DG Fire Safety and Civil Protection is to:
- Maintain and develop the legislative framework regarding the protection of the population and the national economy
- Be responsible for building up, recruiting, training and using the command divisions and units, and for their high level readiness to conduct rescue and protective initiatives
- Supervise the development of plans for protection of the population and the national economy
- Organise the protection of the population, and direct and carry out training of the members of the public for protection, assistance and mutual aid during disasters, accidents and catastrophes
- Cooperate with the armed forces during rescue and emergency operations in disaster-struck areas
- Prevent and mitigate harmful consequences when emergencies arise
- Apply international experience in civil protection during disasters and accidents, and apply principles and standards of International Humanitarian Law
- Inform the population and governmental authorities when disasters, accidents and catastrophes occur.
At ministerial level, the Council of Ministers forms the state policy in the field of civil protection. The Council of Ministers implement the general management of protection in case of disasters and adopt National Programmes for Protection in Case of Disasters and the annual plans for its implementation. Furthermore, they introduce a national system of early warning to alert the executive authorities and of the citizens in case of disasters. They shall set, by the ordinance, the terms, the conditions and the procedure of its functioning following a proposal from the Minister of the Interior.
The Ministers and the bodies under Article 19, paragraph 4 of the Law on Administration, analyse, within the range of their competence, the possible sources of risks, and implement preventive measures to eliminate and limit the effect of the risk factors, which could cause a disaster. They participate in the development of 'The Plans for Protection in Case of Disasters', 'The Plans for Implementation of Rescue and Urgent Emergency and Restoration Works' and external emergency plans. They maintain in readiness forces and means, and provide participation of their subordinate structures as a component of the unified rescue system in accordance with 'The Plans for Implementation of Rescue and Urgent Emergency and Restoration Works'. They implement protection activities in accordance with 'The Plans for Protection in Case of Disasters' and carry out control of the implementation of the measures.
In case of a disaster, a headquarters for coordination and control will be established with the competent minister or head of administration by an order of the Prime Minister, with regard to the character of the disaster.
The civil protection activities are implemented by units, services and other operative structures of ministries and administrations and municipalities, as well as trade companies and sole entrepreneurs, emergency centres, other medical and health institutes, non-profit legal persons and the armed forces.
These units, services and structures are components of the Integrated Rescue System. The Integrated Rescue System is the organisation, coordination and management of the activity of the units, services and structures in the preparation of disaster response and when rescue, emergency and restoration works need to be carried out simultaneously by two or more parts or units.
At regional level, the district governor organises and manages the protection in the district. The governor organises the development and approves the district plan for protection and the district plan for implementation of rescue and emergency recovery activities. The governor coordinates and controls the preparation of disasters carried out by the district administration, the territorial units of the ministries and administrations, the legal persons and the natural persons in the district.
In case of disasters in the territory of the district, the governor may put in use the district plan for civil protection and officially announce the state of disaster in the territory of the district or a part of it. The governor carries out an exchange of information with the Operational Communication and Informational Centre (OCIC) of the MoI. Furthermore, the governor organises, coordinates and controls the process of relief and restoration and the rescue and emergency recovery activities. When activities exceed the territory of one district, and when the mayor of the municipality has requested assistance, the headquarters for coordination must be created.
At local level, the mayor of the municipality organises and manages the civil protection in the territory of the municipality. The mayor organises the development of a district plan for protection, submits data for the execution of the district plan and approves external emergency plans. The mayor coordinates and implements preventive measures on disasters and implements timely announcement and information to the population in case of disasters. Furthermore, the mayor manages the municipal budget funds to ensure the protection activities in case of disasters in the municipality, and he sets a reserve aside for urgent and unexpected expenses related to the protection of the population. The mayor submits an annual record on civil protection activity to the district governor.
When a disaster occurs in the territory of the municipality, the mayor then coordinates the rescue and emergency recovery activities and creates the headquarters for coordination. The mayor may announce a state of disaster in the territory of the municipality and he may carry out an exchange of information with the operational communication and informational centre of the MoI in the district. The mayor can also request coordination assistance from the district governor.
When carrying out management and coordination of rescue and emergency recovery activities, the district governor and the mayor of the municipality are obliged to send written information to the MoI.
At national level
The main laws governing the protection of the population in Bulgaria in case of natural or man-made disasters are the Disaster Protection Law (DPL) and the Law on the Ministry of the Interior. The purpose of the DPL devices to ensure protection of life, health, environment and property in distress. Based on the DPL, a number of practical documents are developed and directed such as the National Programme for Disaster Protection, annual plans for implementing the National Programme, the National Plan for Disaster Protection and the National Plan for conducting rescue and emergency recovery activities.
The Ministry of the Interior shall determine the place in the structure of the MoI and the main functions of the specialised unit to protect the population, namely the Directorate-General Fire Safety and Civil Protection.
Along with those basic laws, there are a number of other special laws and regulations according to which the relevant authorities are assigned functions in the provision of health and living conditions in the country, and functions in response to need. Such laws and regulations like the National Emergency Call System Act with a single European number 112, the Water Act, the Environmental Act, the Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy, the Act on the Bulgarian Red Cross, the Health Act and others.
At ministerial level
The current legislation of the country is compulsory for all individuals, legal persons and public bodies, i.e. any law or regulation that assigns some functions to protect the population or the provision of health and living conditions is a legal basis and is to be implemented by the ministries.
Inter-ministerial cross-cutting coordination
Activities related to the protection of the population in case of threat or occurrence of disasters are carried out by departments, offices and other operating structures such as:
- Ministries and departments
- Companies and sole traders
- Centres for emergency medical treatment and other health facilities
- Non-profit purposes
- Armed forces.
These units, offices and other operational structures are components of the Integrated Rescue System (IRS), while maintaining the institutional or organisational affiliation and their designated functions or objects.
The IRS is the organisation, coordination and direction of action units, offices and structures in order to prepare for disaster response.
Key components of the IRS are the main directorates of the Ministry of the Interior - Civil Protection and Safety Fire and Rescue, the regional administrations of the Ministry of the Interior and the centres for emergency medical care.
The main components of the IRS provide continuous readiness to accept messages in the event of disasters, their evaluation and immediate action.
The structure of the main components of the IRS is built throughout the country in accordance with administrative-territorial division.
The components of the IRS provide assistance upon request according to the plans for carrying out emergency rescue and emergency repairs.
The armed forces assist in carrying out emergency rescue and emergency repairs in accordance with the orders of the Defence Minister on the request of the public authority.
The above illustrates that coordination among the ministries takes place within the framework of Articles 19-23 of the DPL.At regional level
According to Article 9 of the Disaster Protection Law, the emergency planning is carried out at municipal, district and national levels and to that end, the executive authorities draw up plans for disaster protection.
The plans provide organised and coordinated action to prevent or mitigate the consequences of disasters and to provide temporary potable water supply, food and other necessary means of subsistence to the population of the territory concerned.
At district level, development plans are organised by the regional governor, who prepares and approves plans, Article 64 of the DPL. This provision designates the district governor a number of functions in implementing the actions envisaged in the plan in case of disaster in the region.
At local level
According to Article 65 in conjunction with Article 9 of the DPL, the local mayor of the municipality organises the development and submits for approval by the municipal council the municipal plan for disaster protection. The mayor provides data for preparation of a district plan and approves external emergency plans. In case of disaster in the municipality, the mayor has a number of functions in implementing the actions envisaged in the plan.
The private sector in Bulgaria has both rights and obligations in the field of civil protection. Every person has the right to protection, information on measures to ensure protection, training to ensure a remedy for emergency rehabilitation assistance, etc. However, individuals are required to assist rescue authorities, if their assistance does not endanger their lives They are bound to suffer the consequences of interventions, including intrusion into their private property, if it is necessary and inevitable to save lives. Individuals are obliged to provide information to emergency authorities. An entity among those obligations is to plan and establish measures to protect people from disasters caused by their activities. They are obligated to provide funds to protect workers and to train them. In case of disaster caused by their activities, they shall immediately take the necessary measures to limit the adverse effects of these activities. Detailed rights and obligations of the private sector are spelled out in Articles 33 - 38 of the DPL.
Under the current legislation in Bulgaria, volunteers can participate in rescue operations. The mayor, at the decision of the municipal council, creates voluntary formations. With those included in the composition of the voluntary formation mayor contract, volunteers are entitled to training. The functions, rights and obligations of voluntary formations are described in articles 39-47 of the DPL.
At international level
International intervention is governed by political agreements - UN, Council of Europe EUR-OPA Major Hazard Agreement, EU and NATO.
Bilateral agreements are made with Romania and Russia.
- Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Initiative for SEE (DPPI SEE)
- Civil-Military Emergency Planning Council for SEE (CMEP SEE)
- Black Sea Initiative and Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
About 1,550 people are employed full-time the DG Fire Safety and Civil Protection - MoI.
- Medium urban search and rescue module registered to the МІС
- 2 EADRU registered to the EARDCC
- Rescue and emergency equipment for urban and CBRN search and rescue, and equipment for alpine and water search and rescue.
The DG Fire Safety and Civil Protection carries out methodological assistance in organising the training of the executive authorities and population.
For more information about the private sector, please contact: email@example.com
The DG Civil Protection keeps and updates registers of volunteers, volunteers’ modulus and their trainers.