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Lithuania - Disaster management structure

Vademecum - Civil Protection



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Overview

Lithuania is divided into 10 counties consisting of Vilnius, Alytus, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Marijampole, Panevezys, Siauliai, Taurage, Telsiai and Utena, as well as 60 districts.

The State of Lithuania is a republic with a parliamentary system of government. The legislative branch of the Lithuanian Government is constituted by the unicameral Parliament (Seimas). The executive branch of the government (cabinet) consists of the Prime Minister and the ministers. The Prime Minister is appointed and dismissed by the President of the Republic with the approval of the Seimas. The Prime Minister represents the government and leads its activities. The government is responsible for the protection of constitutional order and the inviolability of the borders of the Republic of Lithuania. It administers the affairs of the country, ensures the security of the state and public order, and has the legislative initiative in the parliament. The government is in charge of organising the county governors, ministries and governmental institutions in the upper territorial administrative units of the Republic of Lithuania. The government is accountable to the Seimas for its general activities.

The activity of the government is based on the principles of collegiality, democracy, lawfulness and publicity.

The President is the Head of the state, elected by direct universal suffrage. The President promulgates laws enacted by the Seimas. The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Civil protection is managed and organised at three levels: national, county (regional) and municipal (local).

  • At national level, the government, the Government Emergency Commission, the Ministry of the Interior, the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) under the Ministry of the Interior and the subordinated agencies, ministries and other state institutions make strategic decisions regarding the implementation of civil protection measures.
  • At county level, county governors, county civil protection departments and county emergency management centres organise preparedness for emergencies and assist, where necessary, in response thereto.
  • At municipal level, municipal administrators, civil protection departments (divisions and services), civil protection personnel, municipal emergency management centres, fire prevention and other civil protection services, economic entities and agencies organise preparedness for emergencies and, where necessary, respond thereto.

The primary function of local authorities in the event of local emergencies is to provide the necessary assistance while continuing with their regular tasks, to help people under their jurisdiction, to make local resources available and thereby mitigating the consequences of an emergency and to coordinate the actions of assisting services except emergency services. When the consequences of an emergency affect the territories of more than one municipality, it is classified as a county level emergency. This may interrupt the function of local authorities. Local level Emergency Management Centres will be activated and the County Emergency Management Centre will be extended to coordinate the resources of the affected territory. If necessary, the Lithuanian army and industrial enterprises will provide assistance. All governmental institutions are expected to perform their functions during emergencies. The Government Emergency Commission is entitled to make decisions concerning the allocation of services and resources.

The institutions of the civil protection and rescue system are responsible for developing an organisational structure in the field of emergency and rescue preparedness.

Civil emergency preparedness is a key function of the state and encompasses the civil emergency preparedness and response measures undertaken by public institutions, local authorities, economic entities and the population in regard to state resources used to sustain the national economy and the population and protect the environment and property from the effects of emergency situations. Civil emergency preparedness also entails active participation of the population. Civil emergency preparedness includes all activities and measures carried out by public authorities and emergency forces, and as such is a prioritised area of activity for ensuring an organised and targeted deployment of forces and resources in order to effectively eliminate the consequences of emergencies.

When executing the functions and tasks assigned by the experts of the central civil protection authority and support bodies, the ministries and other public institutions shall establish internal civil protection services.

At national level, the civil protection objective is to ensure emergency preparedness and the development of capabilities at all levels of the civil protection management system to meet the main requirements for national security and civil protection in emergencies, encompassing response and recovery after emergencies.

If the disaster happens at sea, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of Lithuania takes care of the rescue works at sea.

In all other cases, the Fire and Rescue Department and its subordinate services are responsible for performing rescue works.

At ministerial level, the heads of ministries and state institutions or the persons authorised by them direct the activities of the ministries and state institutions in the field of civil protection.

The ministries and other state institutions:

  • Are responsible for the organisation of civil protection according to the type of activity and competence assigned to them
  • Approve the regulations of the emergency management centre of a ministry or other state institution, upon prior coordination thereof with the FRD
  • Build departmental reserves of supplies and funds in order to increase the stability of functioning and security under emergency conditions of the enterprises assigned to their sphere of regulation
  • Organise training in civil protection of the chief officers and specialists
  • Project emergencies and plan and implement preventive measures
  • Draw up and approve plans of civil protection preparedness for an emergency
  • Coordinate, taking into account the character of tasks within their competence, the planning of civil protection measures of entities assigned to their sphere of regulation and the preparedness of the entities to work under emergency conditions
  • Furnish state institutions with the information necessary for the implementation of civil protection tasks
  • Perform an annual analysis of the state of civil protection preparedness for an emergency and submit it to the FRD.

The FRD is an integral part of the civil protection and rescue system. It leads the activities of the civil protection and rescue system and is responsible for organising disaster prevention, coordinating the civil protection activities of public institutions and economic entities and ensuring the preparedness to implement the planned civil protection measures in emergency situations during peacetime and war.

At the national level, the government, the Government Emergency Commission, the Ministry of the Interior, the FRD and the agencies subordinate thereto, ministries and other state institutions make strategic decisions on the implementation of civil protection measures.

At county level, county governors, county civil protection departments and county emergency management centres organise preparedness for emergencies and assist, where necessary, in response thereto.

At municipal level, municipal administrators, civil protection departments (divisions and services), civil protection personnel, municipal emergency management centres, fire prevention and other civil protection services, economic entities and agencies organise preparedness for emergencies and, where necessary, respond thereto.

The main body of this system of the Republic of Lithuania is the Government Emergency Commission (GEC), which is technically assisted by the FRD. The GEC's work is directed by the Minister of the Interior. The GEC submits proposals on emergency management to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Depending on the situation, the GEC may involve different institutions.

Civil protection functions listed by institution:

  • Fire and Rescue Department: planning, management and coordination, warning and information, fire extinguishing and rescue
  • Ministry of the Environment: hazardous substances and monitoring, construction and engineering work
  • Ministry of Social Security and Labour: social security
  • Ministry of Transport: transport, communications, search and rescue
  • Ministry of Health Care: health care
  • Ministry of Economy: supply and energy
  • Ministry of the Interior: maintenance and public order
  • Ministry of Agriculture: food and agriculture
  • Ministry of Culture: protection of cultural heritage and property.

Organisational chart

Lines of command

Lines of communication/information

Lines of coordination

Legal basis

At national level

The Civil Protection and Rescue System is developed in accordance with the Programme for the Development of the Civil Protection and Rescue System, which is approved by the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, and in accordance with the Action Plan for the Programme, which is approved by the Government of Lithuania.

The following regulation applies:

  • Law on the Basics of National Security of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1997, No 2-16)
  • Civil Protection Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No 115-3230, amended on 8 June 2006)
  • Law on Fire Protection of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2002, No 123-5518)
  • Law on Environmental Protection of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1992, No 5-75)
  • Law on Environmental Monitoring of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1997, No 112-2824)
  • Law on Nuclear Energy of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1996, No 119-2771)
  • Law on the Health System of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1994, No 63-1231)
  • Law on Radiation Protection of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1999, No 11-239)
  • Law on Waste Management of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No 61-1726)
  • Law on the State of War of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2000, No 52-1482)
  • Law on the State of Emergency of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2002, No 64-2575)
  • Law on State Stocks of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2000, N. 78-2359)
  • Law on Energy of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2002, No 56-2224)
  • Law on Mobilization and Preparation of Mobilization Reserve (Official Gazette, 1996, No 116-2695)
  • Law on Electricity of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2000, No 66-1984)
  • Law on State Stocks of Petroleum Products and Crude Oil of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2002, No 72-3008)
  • Natural Gas Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2007, No 43-1626)
  • Law on the Heat Sector of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2007, No 130-5259)
  • Government Resolution on the formation of the Emergency Commission of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and approval of the Regulations and composition thereof (Official Gazette, 2000, No12-307)
  • Government Resolution on the approval of the criteria of emergencies (Official Gazette, 2006, No 29-1004)
  • Order of the FRD Director on the work organisation of the Operations Centre of the Fire and Rescue Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2007, No 107-4395).

At ministerial level

  • Civil Protection Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No 115-3230, amended on 8 June 2006).

Inter-ministerial cross-cutting coordination

  • Civil Protection Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No 115-3230, amended on 8 June 2006).

At regional level

  • Law on County Management of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1994, No 101-2015)
  • Civil Protection Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No 115-3230, amended on 8 June 2006).

At local level

  • Law on the Local Autonomy of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1994, No 55-1049)
  • Civil Protection Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No.115-3230, amended on 8 June 2006).

Private sector

  • Civil Protection Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No 115-3230, amended on 8 June 2006).

Volunteers

  • Civil Protection Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No 115-3230, amended on 8 June 2006).

NGOs

  • Civil Protection Law of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1998, No 115-3230, amended on 8 June 2006).

At international level

  • Council Decision 2007/779/EC, Euratom establishing a Community Civil Protection Mechanism.

In 2004, Lithuania joined the European Union and since then the FRD has been actively participating in its activities, as well as supporting national interests while adopting the legal acts of the European Union in the field of civil protection. The FRD represents Lithuania’s interests by participating in the Working Party on Civil Protection of the Council of the European Union and two Comitology Committees – the Civil Protection Committee and the Standing Committee for the Implementation of the Directive on the Control of Major Accidental Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances (SEVESO II). In 2004, the FRD became a member of the European Union Fire Safety Network.

The FRD also represents Lithuania’s interests by taking part in the activities of the NATO Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee (SCEPC) and its subdivision – the Civil Protection Committee, as well as coordinates the activities of other state institutions in SCEPC planning boards and committees.

It is also responsible for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Trans-boundary Effects of Industrial Accidents.

In 1997, the FRD renewed its membership of the International Association of Fire and Rescue Services (CTIF). Since then it has been participating in annual plenary meetings and symposiums, and since 2001 in the fire-fighters sport competitions.

Bilateral agreements

Agreements are made with neighbouring countries:

  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Republic of Belarus on Cooperation in the Field of Prevention of Catastrophes, Natural Disasters and Severe Accidents, and Elimination of Consequences, signed on 16 December 2003.
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in the Field of Prevention of Emergencies and Elimination of their Consequences, signed on 6 May 2003.
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Republic of Poland on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance to be provided in the Event of Catastrophes, Natural Calamities and other Severe Accidents, signed on 1 August 2003.
  • Agreement between the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Hungary on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance to be Provided in the Event of Catastrophes and Severe Accidents, signed on 4 May 2001.
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Republic of Latvia on Mutual Support in the Event of Natural Disasters and Other Large-Scale Accidents, signed on 31 May 2001.
  • Agreement between the Republic of Lithuania and the Federal Republic of Germany on Mutual Assistance to be provided in the Event of Natural Calamities and Severe Accidents, signed on 15 March 1994.
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden on Cooperation in the field of Prevention of Emergencies, Preparedness and Elimination, 2003.

In addition, there are special agreements on nuclear safety:

  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Republic of Poland on Early Notification in case of Nuclear Accident and Cooperation in the field of Nuclear Safety and Radiological Protection, signed on 2 June 1995.
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway on Early Notification of Nuclear Accidents and on the Exchange of Information on Nuclear Facilities, signed on 13 February 1995.
  • Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on Information Exchange and Cooperation in the Spheres of Nuclear Safety and Radiological Protection, signed on 16 March 1993.

Regional agreements

  • Baltic Assembly (BA)
  • Baltic Council of Ministers
  • Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)
  • Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM)
  • Baltic Development Forum
  • Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation (BSSSC).

Human and material resources

In 2008, the budget set aside was LTL 230,780 for the State Fire and Rescue Service.

Stakeholders

Volunteers

There are 6 voluntary fire-fighter brigades in the Vilnius district.

NGOs

Lithuanian Red Cross.