Field Reports

Exchange of Esperts


Austria hosted 12 decision-makers and high-level personnel involved in forest fire management. A consortium composed of research organisations, Ministries and fire services demonstrated ARGUS - an airborne multi-functional management support system. ARGUS follows the demand of emergency teams to react quickly when natural disasters such as forest fires occur and can provide flexible and significant assistance for in-situ analysis as well as management activities which can be deployed in forest fire management.

The Institute of Physical Safety, IFV (Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid) in the Netherlands hosting an exchange of 8 EU experts from fire services to exchange expertise regarding field (real scale) fire experiments. The exchange focused on sharing practical experiences in the field of fire prevention and the use of fire safety engineering simulation models.

The Institute of Physical Safety, IFV (Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid - NL) invited 9 experts from the Netherlands, Poland, the UK, Sweden, Spain, Finland and Belgium to exchange expertise concerning fire prevention and test methods for flammability. The main focus of the exchange was to exchange practical experiences in the field of fire investigation and fire development. This second of a two-part exchange. The Bizkaia Fire Department (SEIS Diputación Foral de Bizkaia) in Bilbao, Spain, hosted the exchange.

A group of five experts from Latvia participated in an exchange hosted by the Fire Service Academy of Hamburg (HFSA) and the Hamburg Fire and Rescue Services (HFRS). The aim of the exchange was for the Latvian expert group to familiarise themselves with the organisational model and procedures relating to inter alia, procurement procedures of protective equipment, material and equipment as well as system and facilities for technical maintenance and repair. Important issues pertaining to the proper functioning of a large cities fire and rescue service were discussed, such as personnel development and long-term personnel requirements and planning.

A group of fire fighters from Poland underwent a comprehensive one-week training in the shoring of buildings by THW at the training school in Hoya, Germany. Theoretical and practical exercises imparted THWs' expertise using different shoring options including the fabrication of wood constructions and the use of other stabilisation techniques. 

3 French dog handlers and 2 rescue dogs were hosted by the Cypriot Civil Defence (CCD). A comprehensive training exercise was conducted with K9 units from Cyprus with the long-term goal of integrating rescue dog units into the INSARAG classification process of a USAR team. This included the exchange of knowledge and expertise in implementing a SOP for the selection process for new dogs and dog handlers.

Rescue dog handlers from the K9 USAR unit from CMC Finland observed a classification exercise of the International Rescue Dog Organisation (IRO) Mission Readiness Test (MRT) in Austria. The exchange aimed to assist the team members in preparing for their own international classification test. The certification will substantially increase the Finnish K9 USAR capacity to participate in international deployments.

Officer candidates from the Hamburg Fire Service, Germany participated in an exchange to the Navy Firefighters Battalion in Marseille, France. The group was familiarised with fire service provision in Marseille including fires onboard ships, forest firefighting equipment including water bomber aircraft and the changed SOPs in the case of terrorist incidents.

A delegation from Bulgaria composed of experts from inter alia, the Ministry of Interior, National Association of Voluntary Units, Fire Service and municipal administrations were hosted by the State Fire Brigade Association Rhineland-Pfalz (Landesfeuerwehrverband), Koblenz, Germany. The aim of the exchange was for the Bulgarian experts to acquaint themselves with the German volunteer firefighting system, structures and organisational models, and learn about the recruitment of volunteers.

European fire prevention experts convened to discuss test methods to reduce fire deaths in urban environments through the use of non-flamable materials in household items such as mattresses and furniture. The exchange resulted in a fire prevention white paper with guidance on furniture standards and further areas of investigation.

3 experts from Israel were hosted by the Romanian General Inspectorate for Emergancy Situations. The experts observed the ROMODEX exercise in Timisoara which included elements of CBRN and water-related module operations of interest to the experts. In addition, the experts sought to gain a better understanding of UCPM procedures (HNS, RDC, BoO, LEMA LO) which are of relevance to Israel and their civil protection community.

The Instituto Geografico Nacional in Madrid and the Centro Geofísico de Canarias Tenerife have invited 4 experts from Greece and 3 experts from Italy. The Exchange of Experts mission was focused on sharing experiences on seismic and volcanic risk management and assessment, prevention and preparedness policies, emergency response and mitigation actions and also comparing methologies and best practices. Moreover, the coastlines of Spain, Greece and Italy are potentially prone in tsunamis and the present programme gave also the opportunity to discuss on this issue.

K9 training and exercise was organised by the German THW USAR unit "SEEBA" in preparation for the upcoming INSARAG re-classification. The organisers from THW State Association Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland invited experts from Estonia (4 persons + 2dogs) and Malta (3 persons) to participate in the exercise. The experts were actively involved in the exercise with the aim of improving their own skills and observing a MRT of an INSARAG-classified unit.

Experts from the Czech Republic shared their experience and knowledge concerning fire investigation in an exchange to the Netherlands. The Fire Service Twente profited from the expertise in investigation techniques, research programmes and knowledge management and dissemination practices.


A group of civil protection experts from Malta were hosted by the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Academy, UK. The experts used the exchange to gain new knowledge and information to develop incident commanders in operational scenarios. Their interest was also in emerging technologies for effective fire and rescue service operations.

Two experts from the Finnish USAR unit FinnRescue (FRF) observed the INSARAG External Re-classification of AFAD - 1 Istanbul. FRF has their own IER scheduled for January 2018 and the experts wanted to see the implementation of the new INSARAG guidelines, in particular the implementation of the USAR Cooordination Cell (UCC) to feed-back into their own preparations and training for the re-classification.

European experts gather to exchange expertise concerning the status of interoperability of first responders in catastrophic situations. The main focus of the exchange was on situational awareness, common operational pictures, next generation 911, use of satellites, response to terrorist attacks and improved pan-European communications.

The Marine Pollution Response Directorate of Portugal hosting an exchange of civil protection and maritime experts from across Europe. The exchange explored issues pertaining to international cooperation during major maritime pollution incidents. Representatives of the Lisbon-based European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will also contribute with information about EMSAs role in relation to vessel reporting, earth observation, integrated maritime services and pollution response. The exchange aims to assist in the improvement of the UCPMs TEC MI training course, and improve understanding of the with the EMSA/ERCC linkage. 

The Netherlands Institute for Safety invited European fire research experts to Arnhem in an exchange. The experts exchanged information regarding fire research being conducted in their respective countries with a view to enhance collabaration in conducting future research. In addition, the experts also attended an international fire research conference where state-of-the-art fire research was discussed.

Experts from the State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia were hosted in an exchange to Denmark by the Frederiksborg Fire and Rescue Service. The objective of the exchange was for the Latvian delegation to learn about the use of drones in fire and rescue operations. As early adopters' of this technology, Denmark has integrated the use of drones in operations and have developed a training programme for this purpose.

The Emergency Services College Kuopio, Finland, invited 8 experts from European fire services to exchange experience in the field of fire prevention, exposure and contamination. In addition to the discussions and working groups on these topics, the experts participated in a training exercise. A list of recommendations were formed for further work.

Two experts from the Estonian Rescue Board visited the Amsterdam-Amstelland Fire Service to exchange information, experience and expertise on data warehouse development and the use of business intelligence tools. The Amsterdam-Amstelland Fire Service has profound knowledge of big data usage. They recently won the Dutch Business Intelligence Award and were commended for the creative use of big data in support of their primary processes. The Estonian experts main aim was to gain new ideas in business intelligence application development to avoid potentially costly mistakes, and also to share their experience in using data for risk profiles and strategic planning.

Fanged to Slovenia to gain information about the Slovenian approach adopted to collect and analyze Disaster Loss Data. The exchange aimed to contribute toward the implemntation of the Georgian Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Strategy and Action Plan. An important part of DRR is the development of a unified disaster loss and damage assessment system, of which Slovenia is one of the leading actors.

The National Directorate General for Disaster Management (NDGDM), Ministry of Interior in Hungary hosted a group of experts from Estonia in an exchange focused on Hungary's implementation of the Seveso III directive. The exchange included presentations on Hungary's hazardous plants and the preparedness efforts and accident mitigation approaches, procedures and response planning capacities

In preparation for the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, an exchange involving Romanian civil protection experts to the Cyprus Civil Defence (CC) was arranged. The experts met with their CCD counterparts currently involved in preparing PROCIV and UCPM topics with the aim of feeding into the civil protection priorities to be addressed under the Romanian presidency. 


The Luxembourg Rescue Services Agency hosted an Estonian delegation composed of crisis communications experts. In order to assist in the development of a civil protection / crisis communications strategy in Estonia the group sought to learn how Luxembourg deals with crisis communications and public information in emergencies. During the exchange the group was introduced to the strategies and practices of several governmental organisations including the rescue service, police and central government.

The Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps invited a group of 12 experts from different UCPM states to observe their annual exercise with the WHO classified Emergency Medical Team (EMT) type 3

The experts exchanged expertise with the colleagues of the – at present – only type 3 Emergency Medical Team in the world that has passed the classification process with the World Health Organisation. The experts sought to gain a deeper insight into the process of selection and training of staff for a large medical team with extensive experience. Furthermore, they familiarised themselves with the hosts' logistical framework, management system and technical and clinical aspects of the Israeli EMT. The exchange was a unique opportunity for the experts to learn and thereby contribute to the development of the European Medical Corps' own EMTs

Estonian Rescue Board experts were hosted in an exchange by the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR). To assist in the development of the EST-USAR Unit, the Estonians were interested in learning about the involvement of voluntary rescuers and how best to systematically develop EST-USAR.