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Iceland - Emergency planning

Vademecum - Civil Protection

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Civil protection tasks and objectives

The tasks of the Icelandic Civil Protection System are: 

  • Organising and implementing measures to protect the well-being and safety of the public and prevent them from harm, the protection of property and the environment from disasters, caused by natural or man-made hazards, pandemics, military action or other types of disasters. This includes prevention, preparedness and reductions of hazards and recovery.
  • To render relief and assistance due to any losses occurred and assist people during emergencies, unless the responsibility for the assistance rests with other authorities or organisations.

Planning philosophy: Local civil protection committees draw up response plans in accordance with the risk assessment in their administrative districts in collaboration with the NCIP/DCPEM and they supervise collaboration between individual local authorities in connection with hazards they face in common and also when the civil protection committees of two or more local government areas prepare joint response plans.

The NCIP/DCPEM draws up response plans covering those sections of the Icelandic community that do not fall under the range of operations of each specific government ministry.

In Iceland there is an all hazard approach in Disaster Management.

The national JRCC has the leading role in all disasters. In each police district the Local Commissioner leads operations in his/her jurisdiction. All operations are planned according to a national organisational Chart –CPLO.

Guidelines for civil protection planning: The individual government ministries and their subordinate bodies, in collaboration with the National Commissioner of Police, examine the disaster survival capacity of the sections of the Icelandic community falling under their range of operations. Regulation based on the Civil Protection Act provides guidelines for civil protection planning.

Contingency and preparedness planning methods and procedures include:

  • Organisation of measures
  • Preparedness on the part of response bodies, including their manpower resources, manpower training, equipment and administrative preparations
  • Transport and telecommunications
  • Implementation of measures in times of peril
  • Coordination and command of measures taken by response bodies and other bodies
  • Trauma relief and assistance to victims
  • Economic defensive measures, stock levels and emergency transport to and from Iceland.

Civil-military cooperation

Iceland has no armed forces of its own.

International assistance

Providing assistance in disaster relief is the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It has an agreement with ICE-SAR International Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team. ICE-SAR is qualified as a medium team according to the INSARAG Guidelines.

Asking for international assistance in emergencies is the role of the National Joint Rescue, Command and Coordination Centre (JRCC). The JRCC sends the Minister of Justice and Human Rights a request to ask for international assistance. The request for assistance is then sent to EU-MIC, UN-OCHA and NATO-EADRCC or to other Nordic countries depending on the request. The procedure of acceptance is also short. The JRCC recommends which offer to be accepted and they have the coordination role in receiving the assistance.