Crisis management system in the Slovak Republic is divided geographically, with each level of public administration playing its part in the system. The aim of civil protection is to protect lives, health, and property. The Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic cooperates with other state authorities, self-governing regions, municipalities, legal entities, individuals and with public-legal institutions with the humanitarian mission that in case of emergency are deployed in rescue operations. It also participates in rescue operations and evacuation in situations stipulated in the Act on Civil Protection.
Regional departments of civil protection and crisis management (at the district offices) plan, manage, and provide the activities relative to the protection of civil population in the case of an emergency. The most important tasks of municipalities on their territory are the following: development of analysis of possible emergency events, preparing plans of protection of the population, organisation and control of civil protection training, oversee and control rescue operations on their territory, planning, controlling and implementation of the declaration of population evacuation.
A comprehensive “Analysis of the territory of the Slovak Republic” in terms of possible emergencies is carried out regularly at national and regional level; however, currently it is absent at local level. Risks are identified with quantitative and qualitative factors, with additional use of historical data and models. The Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic is the main authority for coordinating, evaluating and providing the final risk assessments on national level. On the regional level, district offices are the authorities responsible for gathering and evaluating the regional data that are available to the public.
The Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic manages and develops annual plans in the field of civil protection and determines the main aims and activities for the state administration authorities (district offices, ministries) and self-government authorities (municipalities – cities/towns, villages). This planning determines aims, and is concurrent at the ministry level and at the state administration authorities.
The National Risk Management Strategy of the Slovak Republic describes the main risks and hazards. On identified threats, risk management plans are either prepared or controlled by the national authorities coordinated on governmental level. The most common types of crisis plans are as follows: preventive action plans; action plans for the crisis period and escalation, action plans for recovery measures and reconstruction.
Example of the most common plan is the “Flood plan”. This is a key document, which is prepared on local (municipal) level, that contains every specific data and information (maps, diagrams, capacities, key contacts, prevention and response) which is needed to handle the most common risk in Slovakia.
Communicating risks to the population is an established and on-going effort, with the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic as a main authority. Communication to the public is carried out by communication departments specifically designated for this goal.
Raising awareness is a task carried by multiple stakeholders coordinated by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. Responsibilities are divided geographically (from local/regional to national level) and by target audience. Several examples of awareness raising activities include: educational activities in schools, competitions for children and young people, international 112 emergency number day, publications for general and/or expert public.
Key personnel who ensure fulfilling tasks of civil protection and crisis management are regularly trained and prepared accordingly to national plans and legislative. Several training facilities, under the Ministry of Interior, are used for specialised additional education in the field of civil protection, crisis management, and prevention. National exercise programmes are included in the annual plans of action of Section of Crisis Management of the Ministry of the Interior; these include table-top, field and full-scale exercises throughout the year. These are jointly organised with other first responders (capacities in the Integrated Rescue System), to practice common procedures and methodologies used in emergency response and disaster recovery. Field exercises are conducted on various training facilities, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Defence.
Early warning systems are a collaborative work of public authorities operating and maintaining national civil protection warning systems with private operators of important infrastructure, which are responsible for autonomous warning systems. The main warning method is sirens supplemented by spoken information and also broadcasting the alerts on radio and TV. A section of Crisis Management of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, more specifically its coordination and response centre bears the responsibility of engaging the warning and providing the necessary information.
Scientific institutions and organisations provide the input data, which is needed for decision making. These are the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, the Public Health Office, the Nuclear Supervision Office. Organisations such as these are operating a nationwide network of sensors and monitoring equipment that feeds into the system and is used as a basis for early warning.
The most frequent (annual) use of early warning systems is during extreme weather events (thunderstorms, torrential rain) when the population is informed about the potential flooding risks or landslides, which are the most common threat at every level.
Local authorities are primarily responsible for emergency response on emergencies in their territory. The Mayor of the affected municipality is the head of rescue operations, the head of the district is responsible for response on district and regional level. Emergency response is carried out by first responders who are coordinated by the Integrated Rescue System, which is composed of the Fire and Rescue Service; the Emergency Medical Service; the Mountain Rescue Service; the Mine Rescue Service; the Control Chemical Laboratories, which are supported by local, corporate and volunteer fire fighting corps; the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, the Slovak Red Cross, and other civil protection units. Intervention from national level is provided whenever the emergency is a large-scale event (more than 2 counties are affected) or national capacities from state reserves need to be deployed to assist the rescue operations.
Cross-border cooperation is ensured by bilateral agreements that are either at the governmental level signed by heads of governments, or at the regional/local level signed by local authorities. Since the independence of the Slovak Republic, cross-border cooperation has been established with all neighbouring countries on all scopes (information exchange, assistance, prevention) and levels. International cooperation (the EU, UN, NATO, Central European Initiative, Visegrád Group), and intervention are governed by political agreements, which are carried out by the responsible national authorities: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic.