Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

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Simulation exercises

An EU civil protection exercise, EU TARANIS 2013, held in Salzburg, Austria. The teams practised urban search and rescue, search and rescue in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) conditions, rescue in flood conditions, high capacity pumping, and water purification. Photo credit: EU/ECHO/Oerk

Why is this important?

Natural phenomena, as well as man-made hazards can have serious effects on communities and the areas they live in. It is therefore essential to ensure civil protection systems are at all times ready to respond to crises in the most efficient manner, saving as many lives as possible. 

What are we doing?

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) organises and funds a number of civil protection exercises every year. Alongside full-scale exercises, modules and table-top exercises can also be conducted to test the principles of the EU Civil Protection response.

Module exercises can be similar to full-scale exercises but provide an opportunity for testing specific response activities and the self-sufficiency of response teams and equipment. Table-top exercises are an inexpensive way of conducting specialist training (similiarly to the European Marine Safety Agency activities). A call for proposals for exercises is published every year.

Simulation exercises are designed primarily as tests aiming to establish a common understanding of cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions and to accelerate the response to major emergencies. They provide a learning opportunity for all involved in operations under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and enhance cooperation between them in operations.

Contingency planning, decision-making procedures, provision of information to the public and the media can also be tested and rehearsed during these events. Moreover, exercises can help supervisors identify further training needs for their staff involved in operations, while lessons-learned workshops organised in parallel can serve as a forum to identify how responses can be improved.

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