The European Civil Protection Pool (ECPP) was established to advance European cooperation in civil protection and enable a faster, better-coordinated and more effective European response to man-made disasters and natural hazards. The Pool brings together resources from 25 Member States and Participating States, ready for deployment to a disaster zone at short notice. These resources can be rescue or medical teams, experts, specialised equipment or transportation. Whenever a disaster strikes and a request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is received, assistance is drawn from this Pool.
When these disasters strike, response teams, technical equipment and other resources need to be deployed in the shortest time possible to support the response efforts. Being well prepared to intervene immediately in a disaster is crucial in saving lives and minimising damage.
The European Civil Protection Pool allows for better organised, more predictable and coherent EU operations. To this end, the European Commission has set up a certification and registration process to ensure that the capacities committed to the Pool meet common high standards. Certification includes the participation of the capacities in disaster simulation exercises in order to train together with peers and other teams in emergency response. Certification also ensures that the European response capacities properly operate during international deployments, in close coordination with host nation authorities and with other deployed capacities. The certification is usually carried out by the European Commission, with the support of experts nominated by the Member States and Participating States.
As of June 2021, 25 Member States and Participating States have offered 110 specialised response capacities to the Pool, out of which 77 meet the requirements to become Pool capacities. These resources can be deployed for response operations in and outside the EU following a request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The European Commission provides financial support to capacities that are part of the Pool when they are deployed for response operations. The Commission covers 75% of costs of operating Pool capacities, including transport, for deployments inside or outside Europe.
In addition, financial support is available for the upgrade or repair of response capacities committed to the Pool to strengthen disaster preparedness. EU co-financing in the form of “Adaptation grants” can be granted for already existing capacities within one Member State or Participating State to ensure readiness to be deployed in international contexts. In addition to modules, individual experts can also be deployed to support communities to better prepare for disasters. Recent response operations using resources from the European Civil Protection Pool (ECPP) include:
Following the blasts in Beirut, Lebanon and ensuing activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) coordinated the deployment of several capacities from the European Civil Protection Pool: Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) teams from Czechia, France, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands, as well as a Technical Assistance Support team from Finland. The overall operation also allowed for the deployment of other medical staff and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) experts, as well as for the provision of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies.
In response to the coronavirus, various Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) that are part of the Pool were deployed. In April, 2 Emergency Medical Teams from Norway and Romania were deployed to northern Italy to help Italian medical staff battling the pandemic. The operation also allowed for the provision of medical equipment and supplies. In June, an Italian Emergency Medical Team was deployed to Armenia following an activation of the Mechanism.
In November 2019, Albania was struck by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killing 51 people and leaving hundreds injured. Following the activation of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism at the request of Albania, the ERCC coordinated the deployment of 1 medium urban search and rescue team from Greece and 2 certified search and rescue teams from Italy and Romania that form part of the ECPP.
Additionally, the EU’s Copernicus emergency satellite mapping service produced 6 satellite images of the affected zones to evaluate the intensity and scope of the damage resulting from the earthquake.
In March 2019, cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique killing more than 600 people and having devastating effects on those who survived. Following the activation of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, 8 EU Member States (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain) and the United Kingdom offered immediate support. Thanks to the pre-registered modules in the ECPP, medical teams, water purification equipment and support to setup a communication system arrived quickly to help people in need.