European Commission funds natural disaster exercises in Civil Protection

Date Published : October 7th, 2018    Published By : admin

These exercises are Module Exercises (ModEX) where participants are given more routine and new skills to assist them with coping with natural disasters in and outside the European Union.

European Commission funding for these high level training scenarios range from a heavy earthquake with flooding and mudslides to trench rescues, exploded mines, and CBRN, all involving heavy Urban Search and Rescue (USAR).

EC Funding covers exercises carried out in 2017 and 2018.

These exercises have taken place on training sites across Europe in Provence in France, Eisenerz in Austria, Montana in Bulgaria, Liverpool in the UK and Tinglev in Denmark.

960 MOdEX Denmark

In the earthquake and flooding scenario in Bulgaria, different training modules are used. Three types of search and rescue units, three types of medical units, assistance and support Teams and coordination teams of the EU.

This exercises are developed, planned and implemented by an international consortium and financed by the commission of the European Union.

In practice these modules can be trained during the exercises:

  • Medium and Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

  • USAR in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) conditions

  • Advanced Medical Post with or without Surgery (AMP/S)

  • Field Hospital (FHOS)

  • Technical Assistance Support Team (TAST)

  • Experts of a Union Civil Protection Team (UCPT)

In ModEX additional the USAR modules have the opportunity of re-classification for standards of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG).

960 ModEX EU Maps

ModEX France

One of the most recent exercises was held last month in Provence, France at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Officiers de Sapeurs-Pompiers (ENSOSP). (French academy for fire, rescue and civil protection officers – ENSOSP).

This area presents several facilities usable to host the ModEX and its teams.

The teaching centre covers 30.000 m² with 34 regular classrooms for 12 to 48 people. There are 15 multimedia equipped classrooms and special classrooms for table top exercises. There are 2 auditoriums which can facilitate 300 and 100 people respectfully.

Welfare services are catered for in a restaurant with the capacity of 1.000 persons a day and there are 450 single rooms with TV and Internet access.  There is also parking for 400 cars and ample sports facilities at this centre.

The ENSOSP’s operational training centre in Vitrolles reproduces the entire panel of the operational situations: fire, rescue, man made risks, including 6 fire and rescue stations with 64 fire engines, all of which is supervised by a command and control centre.

960 ModEX October

ModEX Liverpool

One ModEX which was held closer to our own shores was held in the UK in October 2017 at Merseyside in Liverpool. Four different training areas were used in this ModEX; Bury Training and Safety Centre, Croxtech Community Fire Station, Altcar Training Camp and a decommissioned tunnel in Liverpool.

Liverpool’s Training & Development Academy (TDA) offers a wide and diverse range of training from initial trainee programmes. The TDA offers facilities to rival national and international Fire and Rescue Service, including conference and teaching rooms and a 60-seat lecture theatre, all with fully interactive IT facilities. The fire training house was one of the first purpose-built breathing apparatus training venues in the UK and provides the facility enabling firefighters to train with live fire scenarios.

The practical training facilities also include a state-of-the-art, realistic fire training building and a wide range of outdoor training facilities. The recent additions of a trench rescue simulator, confined space tunnels, search and rescue dog training area and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) rig provide comprehensive facilities to train people from within the Fire and Rescue Service and colleagues from other emergency services in the very latest search and rescue techniques.

960 ModEX Liverpool

ModEX Austria

Earlier this year a ModEX took place in May at Eisenerz in Austria. The training ground is an old mining area, which partly is still used. For that exercise, 3 levels of the area were used for Urban Search and Rescue, mountain rescue, cave rescue/rescue in a mine, recue in tunnels, firefighting, Water Purification, High Capacity Pumping as well as Advanced Medical Post. Off-road driving was also is possible.

There is enough space at this centre for Base of Operations as well as accommodation in fixed buildings.

ModEX Bulgaria

In March, ModEX took place at the Professional Training Centre at Montana in Bulgaria, located in north-western Bulgaria, 130 km from the capital city of Sofia and 30 km east of the Serbian border. This centre is in operation since 2005 and is part of the Directorate Regional Fire Safety and Civil Protection of Montana‚ under the Directorate General Fire Safety and Civil Protection in the Ministry of Interior.

This training centre has two licenses. A license issued by the National Agency for Vocational Education and training for conducting and certifying vocational training for attainment of professional qualification degree for the profession, First Responders to Disasters, Accidents and Catastrophes.

Another license issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency for conducting specialized training in radiation protection and attainment of professional qualification in handling sources of ionizing radiations.

960 Modex 2

The modern facilities in the Centre allow the trainees to experience real-life obstacles in the execution of search, rescue and other life-saving operations.

Fields for preliminary training and simulators for car crashes, earthquakes, train accident, water rescue activities and CBRN incidents can accommodate more than 100 people simultaneously for exercising all different techniques. In addition to that the close cooperation of the Training Centre with the Administration of the town of Montana, allows the use of additional buildings surrounding the Training Centre which are not being used for other purposes. The Training Centre is also part of the NATO training facilities network, specialized in CBRN protection and training.

The main activities of this training centre include training of rescuers and experts from the Directorate General Fire Safety and Civil Protection in the Ministry of Interior Special training on radiological protection. Training on external programs include (volunteers, units of the Integrated Rescue System, experts from coordination headquarters in case of disasters), organizing and conducting national and international exercises and also conducting scientific and methodological activities.

960 MOdEX MOntana 2



In January 2018 ModEX took place at Tinglev in Denmark. The DEMA Emergency Services College is situated in the southern part of the peninsula Jutland around 12 km north of the Danish-German border.
The training facilities of the DEMA Emergency Services College include a large training ground of 130.000 square metres. It is used for small and large-scale exercises and is the key point in all educational activities at the College. Its layout simulates a small city with three main areas (two urban and one industrial).

960 MOdEX Trench

More training scenarios will be held before the end of this year and the EU Commission whose main objective is to provide emergency responders and search and rescue teams with more routine and new skills to assist them with coping with natural desasters in and outside of Europe.


(All photos courtesy EU ModEX)


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