The Minister of Home Affairs is in charge of the organisation, coordination, and implementation of civil security. The mission of civil security in Luxembourg is to protect people, animals, property and the environment against calamitous events and disasters. Civil security includes informing and alerting the population in addition to the preparation and implementation of measures and appropriate means. The Luxembourg Fire and Rescue Corps (Corps grand-ducal d’incendie et de secours (CGDIS)), a public institution established by the law of the 27 March 2018, carries out civil security.
The definition of the term "civil security" delimits the scope of action of the CGDIS in relation to that of the High Commission for National Protection (HCPN), a public body under the remit of the member of government with responsibility for national protection – the prime minister. In accordance with the law of 28 July 2016, the HCPN has the task of implementing the concept of national protection. This concept consists of preventing and protecting the country and the population against the effects of a crisis. In the event of a crisis, the HCPN manages the measures and actions required to deal with the crisis and its effects. Crisis management is carried out under the responsibility of a crisis unit, which is chaired by a member of the government. The CGDIS and the HCPN work closely together.
The CGDIS ensures the response to disasters and has concrete objectives in terms of anticipation and prevention.
The Operational Strategy Directorate (OSD) of the CGDIS is responsible for emergency planning and the development of the operational doctrine of the CGDIS. The OSD develops the national plan on rescue organisation (PNOS), the preparation of specific emergency plans for specific risks or threats (in coordination with the HCPN), and the definition of the CGDIS operational doctrine.
The relevant ministry or administration, in compliance with EU and national regulations and directives, develops risk assessments and sector specific strategies and actions.
Crises, with a need for urgent coordinated interventions, are managed at the national level on the basis of emergency response plans (ERP) and are part of the crisis anticipation and management measures developed by the HCPN together with relevant public and private entities.
Ministries and administrations are responsible for assessing risks in their sectors and for adopting appropriate strategies and actions. They also communicate risks to their stakeholders and the HCPN if the risk is likely to have a national impact.
The Ministry of Home Affairs develops, with the CGDIS, the national plan on rescue organisation (PNOS), which includes a risk analysis on technological and natural risks and subsequent preparedness objectives in the field of civil security.
The HCPN conducts a risk analysis (as stated in Art. 3a of the law of 28 July 2016). In its national risk assessment, Luxembourg identifies 7 major risks (cybernetic, terrorist, health, nuclear, risk of disruption of energy and water supplies, and floods).
In 2016, the Benelux-countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) identified 73 transborder risks where the disruption of electricity and communication systems, infectious diseases, major industrial incidents were qualified as major risks.
Risk management planning
Crises are managed at the national level on the basis of emergency response plans (ERP), which are established for every major risk and are part of the crisis anticipation and management measures developed by the HCPN together with relevant public and private entities.
The aim of these ERPs are:
- To define the institutions dealing with the crisis
- To define the process for alerting the authorities and to provide information to the public
- To define the emergency measures and associated actions, and the respective stakeholders in charge
The emergency plans are regularly reviewed and updated. All government emergency response plans, adopted by the Council of Government, together with full information from the national authorities in connection with emergencies are available online via the portal.
Training and exercises
As one of the main parties in the event of a disaster, the CGDIS is in charge of preparedness, training and exercises, the latter being organised by the CGDIS’ national rescue training institute (INFS). The staff of the humanitarian intervention team receive training in- and outside Luxembourg, mainly in the different courses of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM).
The CGDIS also participates in communication exercises with the different international warning systems. Most national, regional and local exercises of the CGDIS are field exercises but tabletop exercises are also included. To evaluate the emergency response plans and the prevention and preparedness measures, the HCPN regularly organises national tabletop and operational inter-agency exercises involving the strategic and operational partners.
Early warning systems
The CGDIS is the national contact point for multiple international early warning systems, and is in charge of transferring urgent messages to the relevant authorities.
Depending on the type and scale of situation, the relevant authority manages public information. In case of a major incident, Luxembourg has a dedicated nationwide network of electronic sirens, operated by the CGDIS. Furthermore, information can be provided through TV, radio or internet by the communication service of the CGDIS or the crisis communication service of the HCPN.
The population alert system, which is an integral part of the state’s crisis communication strategy, is an alert and information system via the sending of an SMS with national or even regional coverage and on a mobile application to inform and alert the population via notifications on mobile phones.
The purpose of the SMS alert and information system for the population is
- To inform and alert the entire population of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (national)
- To inform and alert only a part of the population in the immediate environment of the danger (zonal)
- To inform and alert anyone who is about to enter the risk area
The GouvAlert application can be downloaded free of charge by smartphone users. The application allows the geolocation of the user and subscribers receive alert messages based on their exact geographical location.
The CGDIS is operating the national emergency number 112 and is also the contact point for international emergencies. In the event of emergencies and disasters, the CGDIS leads rescue operations and reports to the Minister of Home Affairs. In case of a national crisis with national impact, the inter-agency coordination is managed by the HCPN.
Cross-border, European and international cooperation
Luxembourg is regularly in contact with the civil security, fire and rescue services of its neighbouring countries. Bilateral agreements regulate mutual assistance in case of an emergency or disaster in the border area as well as mutual trainings or exchanges.
In the event of a disaster on the European or international level, the CGDIS can deploy its humanitarian intervention team. The final decision to deploy is taken by the Minister of Home Affairs with advise of the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs. A request from a third country can be made by the competent authority via the operational (national contact point, ERCC) or the diplomatic channels.
Facts & figures
Ministry of Home Affairs - Department of Civil Security
Headquarters: 19, rue Beaumont L-1219 Luxembourg
Telephone: International relations: +352 247-74642
Last updated: 19/12/2019