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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations


The national crisis management system serves to provide government coordination of the response to incidents in Denmark or abroad. It consists of:

  • The Government Security Committee, which includes the prime minister (chair) and the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, and Defence.
  • The Senior Officials Security Committee, which includes permanent secretaries of the 4 above-mentioned ministries and the heads of the Defence Intelligence Service (DDIS) and Security Intelligence Service (PET).
  • The National Operational Staff (NOST) which includes the Danish National Police (chair), Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), Danish Health Authority, Defence Command, PET, DDIS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority. Other authorities may participate ad hoc.
  • The International Operational Staff (IOS) which includes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (chair), Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Health, National Police, DEMA, Danish Health Authority and Defence Command. Other authorities, travel and insurance industry representatives may participate ad hoc.
  • 12 local operational staff with standing members from the police districts (chair), DEMA, the Home Guard, the regions and the municipalities. Ad hoc participants often include providers of public transport and utilities.
  • Local incident command, made up of on-scene police, fire & rescue, and health preparedness incident commanders.



Within their own areas, individual ministers must plan the retention and continuation of functions in society in the event of large accidents and disasters, including drawing up emergency plans. Each municipal and regional council must also prepare a plan for the municipality’s and region’s emergency management. The 24 municipal fire and rescue companies (owned by the 98 municipalities) must each maintain a plan based on local risks and conditions.

The Minister of Defence, delegated to the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), coordinates the planning, advises the authorities, and lays down guidelines for the preparation of the plans by central government authorities, regions, municipalities and municipal fire and rescue companies. The plans must be revised at least once every 4 years and submitted to DEMA for review and commenting.

Risk assessment

The Danish national risk assessment is carried out by the Danish Emergency Management Agency in close consultation with other authorities and organisations. The results are summarised in the National Risk Profile (NRP).

Risk management planning

In addition to the Danish Emergency Management Act, risk management planning responsibilities are addressed in several plans, agreements, and guidelines. These include, the National Emergency Plan, the Comprehensive Preparedness Planning guidelines, and the National Strategy for Prevention of accidents and disasters.

Moreover, other sector-specific legislation require risk management planning for authorities and companies, e.g. in the health preparedness, transport and energy sectors.

Emphasis is predominantly on generic, all-hazards plans, i.e. focusing on the core tasks of crisis management irrespective of scenarios. Contingency plans for specific risks are drawn up by and for members of the national crisis management system.

Risk communication and awareness raising

Denmark operates with sectorial responsibilities that extend to risk communication and awareness. This means that the sector responsible for an area with a public risk involved also has the responsibility to communicate about that risk.

The Danish Emergency Management Agency coordinates the publication of a National Risk Profile, in which the most severe risks are profiled, and conducts a biannual survey on the public awareness of these threats.

On a national level, the warning system, consisting of a nationwide siren system and a direct line to national broadcasters, who, in severe emergencies, are obliged to post and broadcast warning messages unedited – is tested once a year, both to create awareness and to test the system. This system is supplemented by information via an SMS-service for the hearing impaired, a warning app, and authorities’ social media and web platforms.


Training and exercises

The Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and other organisations offer a wide range of training courses. Currently, DEMA’s course catalogue includes 32 courses for own personnel and other sectors, ranging from courses regarding the function as on-scene incident commander to courses in crisis communication.

Ample training opportunities also exist via numerous exercises (procedure, dilemma, crisis management and full-scale). An example is the national crisis management exercise series ‘KRISØV’, arranged biennially since 2003 by DEMA and the Danish National Police. Exercises are also held regularly in the context of the National Operational Staff and the 12 local operational staff.

Early warning systems

Early warning systems in Denmark are currently exclusively weather related. They include slippery road-warning from road side measurements being shown on authorities’ websites and apps and being the basis for traffic radio information. Another early warning system is the projection of areas prone to cloud bursts. This is not a public system but only available to meteorologists. It is used as support ahead of warning.

The Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) maintains a warning system for nuclear and radiological emergencies. The system consists of 11 automatic online measurement stations located throughout the country. In case of increased radiation from any of the 11 sites, DEMA receives automatic alarms and can react.

Emergency Response

In Denmark, the fundamental principle of emergency management and response is sector responsibility. This means that the authority or organisation with the daily responsibility for a certain area also has the responsibility for that area in case of an emergency.

The Danish fire and rescue service consists of 24 municipal fire and rescue services, the municipal and national support sites, and the national, regional fire and rescue service under the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA). The municipal fire and rescue services are responsible for initiating immediate emergency response, while DEMA assists at larger or more complex incidents that require specialised equipment or personnel.

As of 1 January 2016, Denmark has 24 municipal fire and rescue services and 6 national emergency management centres.

Cross-border, European and international cooperation

Disasters know no borders, and the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) is widely engaged in cross-border, European and International cooperation in order to enhance disaster management in Denmark, in Europe, and beyond. This includes extensive cooperation with international organisations EU, UN, NATO, the Nordic countries, the Baltic Sea States, and bilateral cooperation with Germany.

Host Nation Support in Denmark follows the principle of sector responsibility. DEMA has prepared a set of procedures to be followed in case DEMA requires assistance from other nations within the area of disaster management and response.

Facts & figures

Emergency number: 112
For non-urgent matters, 114 is used for calling the police.

Danish Ministry of Defence
Holmens Kanal 9
DK-1060 Copenhagen K
Tel: +45 7281 0000

National Civil Protection Authority
Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA)
Datavej 16
DK-3460 Birkerød
Tel: +45 4590 6000
Fax: +45 4590 6060

More information

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Last updated: 11/10/2019