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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Preparing for wildfires: EU supports simulation exercise for Eastern Partnership region

Preparedness plays a crucial role in saving lives.

At the beginning of this year’s wildfire season, the EU continues supporting preparedness not only in EU Member States but also in our Eastern Neighbourhood.

This is why the EU supported a regional full-scale wildfire exercise in Georgia on 14-16 June 2023.

The simulation exercise focused on preparedness and response to wildfires and included simultaneous emergencies such as car accidents, missing people and chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear threats.

The exercise brought together teams from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Italy and Sweden.

The exercise was co-financed by the European Commission in the framework of the regional civil protection cooperation programme “Prevention, Preparedness and Response to natural and man-made disasters in Eastern Partnership countries – phase 3” (PPRD East 3).

“Together with the Georgian Emergency Management Services, we designed the exercise to create challenging situations for the responders, so they can do assessments, make decisions, and react accordingly,” explained Kinga Perge, Exercise Director.

This programme is implemented by Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) as the lead agency and programme coordinator, the Emergency Services Academy Finland, the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, the Centro Internazionale in Monitoraggio Ambientale (CIMA) and the Italian Red Cross (CRI).

View of a field, on both sides tents have been put up each carrying a national flag. A helicopter is in the air.
The regional full-scale exercise on wildfires gathered more than 350 participants from 7 countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Italy and Sweden).
© PPRD East 3 Programme, 2023
A women giving instructions, standing next to a screen at the right. At the left a man is standing.
“This exercise provided a unique opportunity for the participants from the region and beyond to jointly get ready for responding to wildfires,” Kinga Perge explained from the Exercise Control field office in the Base of Operations.
© PPRD East 3 Programme, 2023
Inside view of a make shift contol centre in a tent.
During the exercise, as the leading national authority, the Emergency Management Service of Georgia closely coordinated and communicated with national and international teams to respond to specific situations.
© PPRD East 3 Programme, 2023
View of an exercise. A car is burning lots of firefighter trucks and ambulances around.
The exercise scenario simulated a complex disaster emergency of wildfires, involving various hazards, such as car accidents, missing people and chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear threats.
© Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, 2023
A person lying on a stretcher being carried away.
The participants also had to act on other emergencies requiring intervention of search and rescue as well as medical teams.
© PPRD East 3 Programme, 2023
2 people in protective clothing carrying a person lying on a stretcher.
During the wildfire scenario, there was a simultaneous but unrelated event related to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear hazards.
© Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, 2023
A woman shaking hands with 2 people, seen from the back, wearing European Union Civil Protection jackets.
The exercise required international assistance and the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The EU Civil Protection Team provided assistance to the Emergency Management Service of Georgia in coordinating international assistance.
© PPRD East 3 Programme, 2023
Photo of Paule GAILIUNAITE

Story by Paule Gailiunaite, Programme and Partnership Manager for Eastern Neighbourhood, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

Publication date: 20/07/2023