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Iceland - Prevention & preparedness

Vademecum - Civil Protection

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Search and Rescue Volunteers are trained.

Look at following websites for more information on training:


Two mass casualty exercises are held each year at a different location/site in cooperation with ISAVIA (Iceland’s Aviation Authorities) and other local and national agencies and responsible organisations. Other major exercises are held in order to test and exercise contingency plans when they are certified.

After a draft of a contingency plan has been acknowledged, a tabletop exercise must be run with a likely scenario. After the exercise and an evaluation, a reviewed version of the plan has to be certified as the first version 1.0. Then a full-scale exercise is run with command, coordination, cooperation and communication. Different exercise facilities exist depending on the scenarios.

According to Iceland’s Civil Protection Act 82/2008, all ministries and local governments are obliged to make contingency plans according to the scope of their legal responsibilities. The Act also states that all contingency plans must be exercised and tested. All agencies with a role in a specific plan must participate in the exercise.

Furthermore, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has hosted international exercises in Iceland and a NATO PfP programme in 1997, 2000 and 2002. The ICE-SAR USAR team has participated in the USAR NATO PfP exercise in Russia in 2001.

Early warning systems

Early warning systems towards professionals: The Icelandic Radiation Safety Authority is composed of:

  • ECURIE (Radiological/Nuclear)

Early warning systems towards the population: The Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management work together and have a special collaboration and give information to the population before and during natural disasters.

The Icelandic Broadcasting System has a special role in informing the public before, during and after emergencies.

Operative information is exchanged via TETRA communication system.


The National Commissioner of Police supervises the structure of civil protection measures at the national level and civil protection measures taken by the local authorities. There is coordination and cooperation in the preparation of risk assessments with the civil protection committees, and also in the preparation and production of national and local government response plans. In addition, there is coordination and cooperation between response bodies both before and during disasters.