Civil Protection Emergency Levels/Phases
Uncertainty Phase (Óvissustig):
Uncertainty phase/level is characterized by an event which has already started and could lead to a threat to people, properties, communities or the environment. At this stage the collaboration and coordination between the Civil Protection Authorities and stakeholders begins. Monitoring, assessment, research and evaluation of the situation is increased. The event is defined and a hazard assessment is conducted regularly.
Alert Phase (Hættustig):
If a hazard assessment indicates increased threat, immediate measures must be taken to ensure the safety and security of those who are exposed/ in the area. This is done by increasing preparedness of the emergency- and security services in the area and by taking preventive measures, such as restrictions, closures, evacuations and relocation of inhabitants. This level is also characterized by public information, advise and warning messages.
Emergency Phase (Neyðarstig):
Emergency phase is characterized by an event which has already begun and could lead, or already has led to, harm to people, communities, properties or the environment. At this stage, immediate measure are taken to ensure security, save lives and prevent casualties, damage and or loss..
There are three types of emergency plans in the Civil Protection.
- National plans – on matters that can affect the whole country – these include the National Pandemic Influenza Plan
- General plans for various types of hazards – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc. in a Civil Protection district
- Specific plans for specific events in a specific place (for example earthquakes in the district of the Civil Protection in the Eyjafjörður region, volcanic eruptions in Mýrdalsjökull – Katla south Iceland, plan for a plane crash in Keflavik National Airport and also in other airports around the island)
Local Chiefs of Police are in charge of all Civil Protection operations within their respective jurisdictions. There are 9 Police/Civil Protection Districts in Iceland and the country has 21 Civil Protection Committees.
Each Civil Protection District has one or more Civil Protection Committee which is responsible for organisation at the local level. The task of the Committees is to organise and carry out rescue and protection activities, preventive measures as well as of an acute nature, caused by war, natural catastrophes or other similar incidents. Within each of the 9 police jurisdictions there are one or more Civil Protection Committees.
In the event of an emergency, the Government is authorised to issue special instructions in relation to general traffic, rules and safety in official places and areas to which the public has access. In cases of imminent danger, the Chief of Police may forbid in part, or in full, the use of meeting halls and other public gathering places to which the public has access.
The National Crisis and Coordination Centre coordinates relief and rescue operation on a national level
During emergency situations the Government sets up the following services:
Centres for casualties
Centres for survivors
Centres for evacuees
Centres for relatives and friends
Centres for the provision of food
Service and Welfare Centres
The operation of some of these services is often delegated to volunteer organisations, i.e. the Icelandic Association for Search & Rescue and the Icelandic Red Cross, which can provide the qualified manpower.
Volunteer organisations such as the Icelandic Association for Search & Rescue and the Icelandic Red Cross provide integral support to the Government in any crisis. These volunteer organisations provide trained manpower as well as other resources such as vehicles, rescue equipment, relief materials and expert knowledge in the hour of need.
The Directorate of Health is in charge of psychological support to victims of disasters and others and delivers that aid with the support of the Icelandic Red Cross.