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Be Winter Ready
Disasters and Major Emergency Risks
Major Emergencies - FAQs
Framework for Major Emergency Management
Emergency Management at National Level
Nuclear Incident in Japan
The objectives of emergency planning in Ireland are: to implement, within a defined Government framework, measures to identify and mitigate natural and technological hazards; to plan for, to respond to, and to lead recovery from major emergencies which threaten persons, infrastructure, the environment and property.
Ireland generally does not suffer from major natural disasters on the same scale as that which can afflict other countries around the world. A lot of our emergencies concern fires, transport incidents, hazardous substances, technological and industrial incidents, local flooding and gorse fires. Emergency planning in Ireland has developed, therefore, with reference to the structure, role and competence of the various services and organisations likely to be needed to deal with those emergencies.
This document is available in the Publications and Documents column on the right hand side of your screen.
There are extensive peacetime emergency plans, which are co-ordinated at agency, local and national level. They cover a wide variety of situations. They include (but are not confined to):
- Major Emergency Plan
- National Civil Aviation Security Committee
- National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents
- Major Oil Spillages from Ships
- Marine Search and Rescue
- Severe Weather Emergencies
- Exotic Animal Diseases
Avian Influenza is a contagious viral infection of wild birds and it is particularly prevalent in waterfowl. It may occur as a mild infection that may not cause clinical disease. This is called Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI). The less common High Pathognic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which is occasionally seen, may cause outbreaks leading to large numbers of deaths in domestic poultry, and in wildfowl. This strain includes the H5N1 strain currently circulating in Asia since last 2003. Other strains of HPAI have also caused outbreaks.
The Department of Agriculture and Food: has an emergency plan designed to contain outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry should the disease arrive in this country. The Fire Service may be called upon to assist the Department of Agriculture and Food in the post-cull gas detection of residual CO2 gas in large commercial poultry holdings.
The Interim Guidance Document outlines additional procedures to be used in conjunction with standard fire service training to ensure the health and safety of Fire Service personnel should they be called upon to engage in this essential task. This document relates only to the response to avian influenza incidents; nothing in this document affects the standard response and crewing arrangements for any other type of incident.The information in this document may change in the light of experience in Ireland and internationally and if new information emerges. Please ensure that you have the most up to date version of this document.
Major Emergency Plans
Major Emergency Plans, based on the 1984 document: Framework for Co-ordinated Response to Major Emergencies, are in place in all local authority areas and may be activated by any one of the Principal Response Agencies: the Local Authorities, An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive. The Major Emergency Plan of each agency sets out that agency's response, as well as its contribution to the combined response of all agencies.
A new Framework entitled "A Framework for Major Emergency Management" and "A Framework for Major Emergency Management Appendices" has been finalised and approved by Government with a two-year implementation timeframe. The Framework is intended to enable An Garda Siochána, the Health Service Executive and local authorities (the Principal Response Agencies) to prepare for and make a co-ordinated response to major emergencies resulting from events such as fires, transport accidents, hazardous substances incidents and severe weather. The Framework provides for each Principal Response Agency to undertake a very specific series of emergency preparedness steps, both internally and in an inter-agency context. It is the foundation block for the development of a new generation of major emergency plans by the Principal Response Agencies.
The process of delivering the Framework is as important as the document itself. Recognising this the Government has approved a two year Major Emergency Development Programme that will enable a planned and orderly transfer to the new Framework provisions. It is intended that, as elements of the new emergency management structure are developed and agreed between the Principal Response Agencies, they will be incorporated into the existing response arrangements with a view to having the provisions set out in the Framework fully in place in all relevant authorities and agencies within the two-year time frame.
Framework Guidance Documents
A series of additional Framework Guidance Documents designed to support specific areas of major emergency management are currently under development. These documents will initially be posted here as Working Drafts for comment by practitioners involved in the implementation process. The latest guides to be developed are Guide 4 - A Guide to Planning and Staging Exercises and Guide 6 - A Guide to Managing Evacuation. This brings to four the number of Working Draft Guidance Documents available.
At national level each Government Department is responsible for ensuring that emergency plans exist in respect of its own area of responsibility. Operational responsibility for incidents, however, rests with the emergency services under the aegis of the Departments concerned. Individual Departments are also responsible for any necessary co-ordination between Departments and/or services.
Task Force on Emergency Planning - (Nuclear/Chemical/Biological Threats)
This body was established by the Government and is chaired by the Department of Defence. It includes representatives of all Government Departments and agencies involved in the emergency planning process, as well as the Police and the Defence Forces. Its aim is to ensure that preparations are in place for a coordinated response to possible nuclear, chemical or biological threats. It provides regular reports to Government.
Office of Emergency Planning - (International Terrorism Threat)
This office was established within the Department of Defence to take a lead role in emergency planning to meet the new threat from international terrorism, including coordination of the responses of the various Departments and agencies. This Office is also exercising an oversight role in relation to peacetime planning, ensuring the best possible use of resources and compatibility between the plans involved.
Inter-Departmental Working Group on Emergency Planning
The group was established by the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP). It's role is to support the functions of the Task Force and the OEP. The Group is currently examining issues at national level relating to the activation of Major Emergency Plans, including the processes for activating emergency resources; mechanisms for identifying a large scale emergency; command, control and co-ordination mechanisms available; means of public communication; and legal powers available to Departments and agencies for public order and control.
National Steering Group
The new group's role is to perform the national level functions set out in the new Framework and to oversee the two-year development programme, to continue to develop, maintain and update the new Framework in light of the experience of its application and report on these issues to the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning.
Phone No +353 (0)1 888 2382
Fax No +353 (0)1 888 2645
Fire Services and Emergency Planning Section,
Nuclear Safety Emergency (external link)
Public Health Emergency (external link)
Animal Health Emergency (external link)
Department of Defence (external link)
Office of Emergency Planning (external link)
- Report on the Review of the Response to Exceptional Severe Weather Events of 2009-2010 (pdf, 9,483 kb)
- Major Emergencies - FAQs (pdf, 40 kb)
- Framework for Major Emergency Management (pdf, 1,987 kb)
- Framework for Major Emergency Management Appendices (pdf, 1,364 kb)
- A Guide to Risk Assessment in Major Emergency Management (January 2010) (pdf, 274 kb)
- A Guide to Preparing a Major Emergency Plan (January 2010) (pdf, 278 kb)
- more publications
- 07/02/13: Hogan publishes 2 major reports on Fire Services in Ireland “Keeping Communities Safe” and “CAMP – The Next Generation”
- 03/06/11: Hogan approves the aquisition of 17 front line fire appliances
- 08/11/10: DRIVING CHANGE – A NEW CROSS-BORDER ROAD SAFETY INITIATIVE LAUNCHED BY MINISTER FINNERAN
- 23/06/09: Ministers Gormley and Finneran announce new central arrangements for the promotion and delivery of Fire and Emergency Services