What is it?
The EU established the European Civil Protection Pool to advance European cooperation in civil protection. It aims to enable a faster, better-coordinated and more effective European response to human-induced disasters and natural hazards.
The Pool currently brings together resources to respond to disasters from 25 Member States and participating states, ready for deployment to a disaster zone at short notice. These capacities cover a wide range of services, such as search and rescue, medical treatment, or forest fire fighting.
Why is this important?
Whenever a disaster strikes, and national resources are overwhelmed, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism may receive a request for assistance from the affected country.
This is when emergency response teams with technical equipment need to be deployed in the shortest time possible to support the national 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. It ensures that capacities (e.g. emergency response teams and equipment) provided by EU Member States and participating states meet high operational standards.
Certification includes the participation of emergency teams in disaster simulation exercises to train with peers. This ensures that they properly operate during international deployments.
The European Commission oversees and funds the EU certification process with the support of national experts.
How are we helping?
As of June 2022, the Pool includes 81 registered resources offered by 25 Member States and participating states. They can be deployed for response operations inside 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.
These resources range from mountain rescue teams to the availability of mobile laboratories, medical air evacuation, water purification equipment, etc. The Commission covers 75% of the costs, including transport, for deployments inside or outside Europe.
In addition, EU financial support, called adaptation grants, is available for the upgrade or repair of response capacities committed to the Pool, to enhance their readiness for deployments under the Mechanism.
Recent response operations using resources from the European Civil Protection Pool include:
Cyclones in Madagascar in 2022
In February 2022, after cyclones hit Madagascar, a water purification module from France, and emergency medical teams from Poland which are both part of the European Civil Protection Pool were deployed as part of the EU Civil Protection response.
Haiti earthquake and tropical storm Grace in 2021
In August 2021, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit south-western Haiti, followed by tropical storm Grace which struck the country just a few days after.
Causing a shortage of emergency medical staff, clean water and housing, EU civil protection teams were immediately deployed from Europe to Port-au-Prince.
Sweden contributed to these teams with 5 previously certified members who provided technical assistance and support. Luxembourg contributed with 2 certified members who ensured emergency communication, and Norway sent certified doctors and health experts – altogether mobilised from the EU Civil Protection Pool.
This support was provided in addition to €3 million in humanitarian funding to address urgent needs as well as 175 tonnes of humanitarian cargo delivered by 3 EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights.
Greece forest fires and floods in Belgium in summer 2021
Following the severe forest fires in Greece, a French team of ground forest firefighting team was deployed, previously certified and part of the EU Civil Protection Pool. They fought fires alongside firefighters from 10 other Member States
When Belgium was affected by floods in July 2021, a certified French team of flood rescue experts arrived with boats to support national rescuers.
Lebanon explosions in 2020
Following the blasts in Beirut, Lebanon activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The Emergency Response Coordination Centre coordinated the deployment of urban search and rescue teams from Czechia, France, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands, and a support team from Finland.
The overall operation also allowed for the deployment of other medical staff and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear experts, as well as for the provision of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies.
COVID-19 pandemic in 2020
In response to COVID-19, various emergency medical teams 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.
Last updated: 15/06/2022
Picture: © European Union, 2021 (photographer: Žiga Živulovic)
Facts & figures
The European Civil Protection Pool is a reserve of emergency response teams and equipment.
Resources are committed by European states to respond to disasters inside and outside the EU.
The Pool was established in 2013.
To date, 25 European countries have offered 115 resources to the Pool, out of which 81 are now registered in the Pool after being certified.
The Pool allows for a more predictable, pre-planned and quality-checked European response.
The European Medical Corps gathers all health-related response capacities that are committed to the Pool or developed under rescEU.
- EU Civil Protection
- European Medical Corps (EN)
- Europäisches Medizincorps (DE)
- Cuerpo Médico Europeo (ES)
- Corpo sanitario europeo (IT)
- Europäischer Katastrophenschutz-Pool (DE)
- Reserva Europea de Protección Civil (ES)
- Pool europeo di protezione civile (IT)
- Reserva Europeia de Proteção Civil (PT)
- Civil Protection Pool portal