Civil protection in Greece is organised as a coordinated resource system where national, regional and local authorities work together with local and public institutions and services. The Greek bodies responsible for the implementation of civil protection measures include the General Secretariat for Civil Protection (GSCP) and several authorities, organisations and institutions, e.g. the ministries, the fire service, the Hellenic police, the armed forces, health authorities, the decentralised administrations, the regions, and the municipalities.
The mission of GSCP is to protect the citizen's life, health and property from natural, technological and other major hazards.
The GSCP studies, plans, organises and coordinates the country's policy concerning issues of public awareness, prevention and confrontation of natural or man-made disasters. It coordinates the actions of the public services and the civil protection volunteers.
Each ministry is responsible for prevention plans and taking preventive structural measures in the area of their competency. The General Secretariat for Civil Protection issues circulars with guidelines not only on prevention, but also in preparedness and disaster response.
The key risks identified in the national risk assessment include forest fires, earthquakes, floods, and industrial accidents.
The National Civil Protection Plan "Xenokrates" (Ministerial Decision no. 1299/2003) sets the national framework for an effective risk management planning and provides for the development of hazard-specific plans at the local, regional and national level.
In accordance with “Xenokrates”, at national central level, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection issues National Plans for all kinds of natural and manmade disasters. All ministries, decentralised governmental authorities, and local government authorities should design their plans based on the national plan. The General Secretariat of Civil Protection is the general coordinator of the planning.
Public information covers the whole disaster management cycle. The General Secretariat for Civil Protection has a cross-sectoral and all-hazards competence, while hazard-specific communication is provided by public authorities in their sphere of competences.
Information on all kinds of natural and man-made disasters including guidelines for self-protection is available, in Greek and foreign languages (English, Spanish, French, Albanian, and Arabic). These guidelines can be found on the site of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection. Information is disseminated via various methods such as campaigns, TV and radio spots for specific disasters, publication of leaflets and brochures, electronic material, and school visits
Trainings and exercises are undertaken at national, regional, and local level by competent authorities.
Greece also participates in the Union Civil Protection Mechanism training programme.
Greek authorities have also organised international exercises, such as, EU EVITA 2014, EU PROMETHEUS 2014, EU POSEIDON 2011, and EU EVROS, 2010. Greece has participated in others, such as, EU TWIST 2013, EU Dr HOUSE, 2012, PT QUAKE 2009, and SARDINIA 2008.
The General Secretariat for Civil Protection issues the daily forest fire risk map during the summer period. It is uploaded on its website and sent to all competent and local authorities involved in forest fires management.
Severe weather phenomena warnings are issued by the Hellenic National Meteorological Service.
Tsunami early warnings are provided by the Institute of Geodynamics, which hosts the Hellenic National Tsunami Warning Centre.
The General Secretary for Civil Protection, the regional authorities and the local government authorities are in charge of coordinating all operational forces depending on whether the disaster is general, regional, or local.
Greece is a participating state of the UCPM. Bilateral agreements and/or memorandums of understanding have been signed with Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Israel, Malta, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the USA, and Turkey. Regional agreements in force include the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, memorandum of understanding in humanitarian emergency response (UN, Greece and Turkey), the Protocol in Preventing Pollution from ships and, in cases of Emergency, Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, UNECE Convention on the Trans-boundary Effects of Industrial Accidents.