Relatively small investments in preparation can speed up recovery by months or years and thereby prevent millions of deaths by hunger, cold and disease. According to human capital theory in economics, a country’s population is more valuable than all of the land, factories and other assets that it possesses. People rebuild a country after its destruction, and it is therefore important for the economic security of a country that it protect its people. According to psychology, it is important for people to feel as though they are in control of their own destiny, and preparing for uncertainty via civil defense may help to achieve this.
In the United States, the federal civil defense program was authorised by statute and ran from 1951 to 1994. Originally authorised by Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress, it was repealed by Public Law 93-337 in 1994. Small portions of that statutory scheme were incorporated into the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707) which partly superseded in part, partly amended, and partly supplemented the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-288). In the portions of the civil defense statute incorporated into the Stafford Act, the primary modification was to use the term “Emergency Preparedness” wherever the term “Civil Defence” had previously appeared in the statutory language.
An important concept initiated by President Jimmy Carter was the so-called “Crisis Relocation Program” administered as part of the federal civil defense program. That effort largely lapsed under President Ronald Reagan, who discontinued the Carter initiative because of opposition from areas potentially hosting the relocated population.
Threats to civilians and civilian life include NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical warfare) and others, like the more modern term CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear). Threat assessment involves studying each threat so that preventative measures can be built into civilian life.
Refers to conventional explosives. A blast shelter designed to protect only from radiation and fallout would be much more vulnerable to conventional explosives. See also fallout shelter.
Shelter intended to protect against nuclear blast effects would include thick concrete and other sturdy elements which are resistant to conventional explosives. The biggest threats from a nuclear attack are effects from the blast, fires and radiation. One of the most prepared countries for a nuclear attack is Switzerland. Almost every building in Switzerland has an abri (shelter) against the initial nuclear bomb and explosion followed by the fall-out. Because of this, many people use it as a safe to protect valuables, photos, financial information and so on. Switzerland also has air-raid and nuclear-raid sirens in every village.
A “radiologically enhanced weapon,” or “dirty bomb”, uses an explosive to spread radioactive material. This is a theoretical risk, and such weapons have not been used by terrorists. Depending on the quantity of the radioactive material, the dangers may be mainly psychological. Toxic effects can be managed by standard hazmat techniques.
The threat here is primarily from disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
Various chemical agents are a threat, such as nerve gas (VX, Sarin, and so on.).
Mitigation is the process of actively preventing the war or the release of nuclear weapons. It includes policy analysis, diplomacy, political measures, nuclear disarmament and more military responses such as a National Missile Defense and air defense artillery. In the case of counter-terrorism, mitigation would include diplomacy, intelligence gathering and direct action against terrorist groups. Mitigation may also be reflected in long-term planning such as the design of the interstate highway system and the placement of military bases further away from populated areas.
Preparation consists of building blast shelters and pre-positioning information, supplies, and emergency infrastructure. For example, most larger cities in the U.S. now have underground emergency operations centres that can perform civil defense coordination. FEMA also has many underground facilities for the same purpose located near major railheads such as the ones in Denton, Texas and Mount Weather, Virginia.
Other measures would include continual government inventories of grain silos, the Strategic National Stockpile, the uncapping of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the dispersal of lorry-transportable bridges, water purification, mobile refineries, mobile de-contamination facilities, mobile general and special purpose disaster mortuary facilities such as Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) and DMORT-WMD, and other aids such as temporary housing to speed civil recovery.
On an individual scale, one means of preparation for exposure to nuclear fallout is to obtain potassium iodide (KI) tablets as a safety measure to protect the human thyroid gland from the uptake of dangerous radioactive iodine. Another measure is to cover the nose, mouth and eyes with a piece of cloth and sunglasses to protect against alpha particles, which are only an internal hazard.
To support and supplement efforts at national, regional and local level with regard to disaster prevention, the preparedness of those responsible for civil protection and the intervention in the event of disaster
To establish a framework for effective and rapid cooperation between different civil protection services when mutual assistance is needed (police, fire service, healthcare service, public utility provider, voluntary agencies)
To set up and implement training programs for intervention and coordination teams as well as assessment experts including joint courses and exchange systems
To enhance the coherence of actions undertaken at international level in the field of civil protection, especially in the context of cooperation
Preparing also includes sharing information:
To contribute to informing the public, in view of increasing citizens’ level of self-protection
To collect and disseminate validated emergency information
To pool information on national civil protection capabilities, military and medical resources
To ensure efficient information sharing between the different authorities
Response consists first of warning civilians so they can enter fallout shelters and protect assets.
Staffing a response is always full of problems in a civil defense emergency. After an attack, conventional full-time emergency services are dramatically overloaded, with conventional fire fighting response times often exceeding several days. Some capability is maintained by local and state agencies, and an emergency reserve is provided by specialised military units, especially civil affairs, Military Police, Judge Advocates and combat engineers.
However, the traditional response to massed attack on civilian population centres is to maintain a mass-trained force of volunteer emergency workers. Studies in World War II showed that lightly trained (40 hours or less) civilians in organised teams can perform up to 95% of emergency activities when trained, liaised and supported by local government. In this plan, the populace rescues itself from most situations,and provides information to a central office to prioritize professional emergency services.
In the 1990s, this concept was revived by the Los Angeles Fire Department to cope with civil emergencies such as earthquakes. The program was widely adopted, providing standard terms for organization. In the U.S., this is now official federal policy, and it is implemented by community emergency response teams, under the Department of Homeland Security, which certifies training programmes by local governments, and registers “certified disaster service workers” who complete such training.
Recovery consists of rebuilding damaged infrastructure, buildings and production. The recovery phase is the longest and ultimately most expensive phase. Once the immediate “crisis” has passed, cooperation fades away and recovery efforts are often politicised or seen as economic opportunities.
Preparation for recovery can be very helpful. If mitigating resources are dispersed before the attack, cascades of social failures can be prevented. One hedge against bridge damage in riverine cities is to subsidise a “tourist ferry” that performs scenic cruises on the river. When a bridge is down, the ferry takes up the load.
Some advocates[who?] believe that government should change building codes to require autonomous buildings in order to reduce civil societies’ dependence on complex, fragile networks of social services.
An example of a crucial need after a general nuclear attack would be the fuel required to transport every other item for recovery. However, oil refineries are large, immobile, and probable targets. One proposal is to pre-position truck-mounted fuel refineries near oil fields and bulk storage depots. Other critical infrastructure needs would include road and bridge repair, communications, electric power, food production, and potable water.
Civil Defense is also the name of a number of organizations around the world dedicated to protecting civilians from military attacks, as well as to providing rescue services after natural and human-made disasters alike.
Worldwide protection is managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In a few countries such as Jordan and Singapore (see Singapore Civil Defence Force), civil defense is essentially the same organisation [clarification needed] as the fire brigade. In most countries, however, civil defense is a government-managed, volunteer-staffed organisation, separate from the fire brigade and the ambulance service.
As the threat of Cold War eased, a number of such civil defense organisations have been disbanded or mothballed (as in the case of the Royal Observer Corps in the United Kingdom and the United States civil defense), while others have changed their focuses into providing rescue services after natural disasters (as for the State Emergency Service in Australia). However, the ideals of Civil Defense [clarification needed] have been brought back in the United States under FEMA’s Citizen Corps and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
In the United Kingdom Civil Defence work is carried out by Emergency Responders under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, with assistance from voluntary groups such as RAYNET, Search and Rescue Teams and 4×4 Response. In Ireland, the Civil Defence is still very much an active organisation and is occasionally called upon for its Auxiliary Fire Service and ambulance/rescue services when emergencies such as flash flooding occur and require additional manpower. The organisation has units of trained firemen and medical responders based in key areas around the country.
By country Edit
Main article: Civil defense by country
Albanian Civil Protection
State Emergency Service – Australia
Belgian Civil Protection – Belgium
Defesa Civil – Brazil
Cyprus Civil Defence
Population Protection – Czech Republic
Civil defense in Finland
Sécurité Civile – France
Technisches Hilfswerk – Germany
General Secretariat for Civil Protection – Greece
Civil Defence Harir in Kurdistan – Iraq
Civil Defence Ireland
Isle of Man Civil Defence Corps
Civil defense in Israel
Protezione Civile – Italy
Malaysian Civil Defence Department
Protección Civil – Mexico
Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers – Monaco
Civil Defence (New Zealand)
Nigeria security and civil defence corps -Nigeria
Norwegian Civil Defence
Panama Civil Defense Seismic Network
Civil Police – San Marino
Singapore Civil Defence Force
Civil Defence Corps
UK’s National Attack Warning System
Royal Observer Corps
Civil Air Patrol
United States civil defense
United States civil defense association
Comprehensive Emergency Management
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Duck and cover