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Emergency Management in Scandinavia: Lessons Learned at Home and Abroad. FEMA Higher Education Conference June 2, 2009. Joanne Stone Wyman PhD, Director Humanitarian & Disaster Relief Logistics Application Division SOLE – The International Society of Logistics | Hyattsville, Maryland

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emergency management in scandinavia lessons learned at home and abroad

Emergency Management in Scandinavia:Lessons Learned at Home and Abroad

FEMA Higher Education Conference

June 2, 2009

Joanne Stone Wyman PhD, Director

Humanitarian & Disaster Relief Logistics Application Division

SOLE – The International Society of Logistics | Hyattsville, Maryland


  • Introduction to Scandinavia
  • Top Take-Home Messages
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Conclusion
introduction to scandinavia
Introduction to Scandinavia
  • No standard definition
  • Most common usage = Denmark + Norway +Sweden
  • Large geographic area of Northern Europe, extending from the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean to the Baltic Sea
  • Distinct paths despite some shared history and culture, plus hazards/risks in common

Source: Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen, Denmark. From www.norden.org

top take home messages
Top Take-Home Messages
  • Describing another country’s policies and institutions using our concepts and lexicon is a challenge
  • Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are not as alike as some might think. Despite similarities, each country has its own unique mix of hazards, vulnerabilities, and EM framework
  • Post WWII, all three considered themselves generally more secure and safe than most other countries. “EM” tended to be a combination of Civil Defense and Rescue Preparedness, with a local emphasis
  • But crises at home, abroad, and even globally were “wake up” calls, serving as catalysts for new perceptions of risks and vulnerabilities and self-examination of the adequacy of existing policies, programs, and institutions
  • Today, similarities (embracing risk assessment) and differences (varying levels of integration at the national level)
denmark overview
Denmark: Overview*
  • “Mainland” (Jutland) borders Germany, North Sea, Danish Straits, and Baltic Sea
  • Smallest country
  • 400+ islands, ±78 inhabited
  • Coastline = 4,545 miles
  • Low-lying; forests, bogs, meadows, heath, dunes, lakes; no large rivers
  • Mild winters (average low of ~320F) and cool summers (average high of ~600F); rainy and windy

Source: European Union http://europa.eu/abc/maps/members/denmark_en.htm

*Faroe Islands and Greenland not included.

denmark overview cont d
Denmark: Overview (Cont’d)
  • Second highest population (5.5 million), most densely populated, highly urbanized
  • Economy combines services, manufacturing, design, oil & gas exports; the economic system is a blend of free market and social welfare
  • Government blends constitutional monarchy + parliamentary democracy
denmark hazards vulnerabilities risks
Denmark:Hazards, Vulnerabilities, Risks

3 broad categories of hazard/risk:

  • Natural – landslides and winter storms with high winds and flooding
  • Manmade– accidents (transportation, industrial, other); infrastructure failures
  • Security/Crime– terrorism, international organized crime

Not all hazards are domestic. Events abroad – South Asia tsunami and Lebanon crisis, for example, have affected Danes living, working, or traveling abroad and stressed Denmark’s emergency preparedness capabilities and capacity.

denmark hazards vulnerabilities risks8
Denmark:Hazards, Vulnerabilities, Risks
  • First National Vulnerability Assessment in 2004 discussed trends altering Denmark’s threat and risk climate:
    • Globalization (capital, ideas, information, labor)
    • Technological innovation (specialization, cross-sector dependency)
    • End of Cold War, expansion of EU and NATO
    • Militant, non-state, networks
  • Annual National Vulnerability Reports highlight lessons learned from recent crises and trends creating new threats or new effects from old ones.* Key concerns are:
    • Terrorism – at home or abroad
    • Extreme weather – more frequent and intense – due to climate change
    • Infrastructure – failures spread rapidly across sectors and country borders
    • Human, animal, and plant disease and illness outbreaks/possible pandemic

*Anticipation of continuing vulnerabilities from incidents that affect Danes or Danish interests abroad.

denmark disaster history
Denmark: Disaster History
  • North Sea Car Ferry Fire (1990)
  • Winter Storm Anatol (1999)
  • Roskilde Music Festival (2000)
  • Oil Tanker Accident (2001)
  • Power Outage, from Sweden (2003)
  • Fireworks Accident (2004)
  • Winter Storm (2005)
  • Bird Flu (2006)
  • Protests in Copenhagen (2006 – 2007)

Tsunami (2004) & Lebanon Crisis (2006) had big impact.

denmark policies institutions
Denmark: Policies & Institutions
  • Pre-1992 – focus on conventional “civil defense” and “civil protection” for war
  • 1992 – New Danish Preparedness Act
    • “Rescue preparedness”: prevent, reduce, and remedy harm to people, property, and the environment from accidents or other disasters
    • Merged two agencies into a single Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) within Ministry of Interior and Health (later moved to Defense)
  • 2002 to 2007 – crucial policy and practice changes
    • Annual National Vulnerability Assessments
    • Formal government policy on emergency management
    • Participation in international initiatives
denmark policies institutions11
Denmark: Policies & Institutions
  • Key Principles
    • Sector Responsibility – authority, company or institution responsible for a particular area or function during “normal” times is responsible during a major accident or other disaster
    • Local Responsibility – preparedness one community at a time; response at lowest level of government first
  • Three Tiers With DEMA Oversight, Coordination, Assistance
    • Level 1 – Local response with fire and rescue brigades; capacity based on municipal risk assessment
    • Level 2 – 14 Centers (9 Support Centers run by selected municipalities plus 5 DEMA Rescue Centers) augment local resources
    • Level 3 – DEMA’s Rescue Centers activated for comprehensive, complex accidents of disasters

Special Attention to Aid Danes in Major Crises Abroad

norway overview
Norway: Overview
  • Europe’s most northern country
  • “Mainland”, plus Svalbard archipelago and Jan Mayen, a volcanic island in Arctic Ocean); 50,000 offshore islands
  • Borders Sweden, Finland, Russia, Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Danish Straits
  • Second largest (>149,000 square miles), least populous (4.8 million)
  • Long, rugged coast ~13,167 miles without islands
  • Spans 13 degrees of latitude, with 1/3 above Arctic Circle


norway overview cont d
Norway: Overview (Cont’d)
  • Terrain varies widely across four regions, with valleys, forests, deep fjords, mountains
  • Climate varies too, dramatically:dramatic from -620F to 860F, mild winters in some regions, “Midnight Sun”
  • Economy dominated by oil & gas since early 1970s; combination of capitalism and social welfare
  • Government blends constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy
norway hazards vulnerabilities risks
Norway:Hazards, Vulnerabilities, Risks
  • Natural hazards– significant, potentially catastrophic slides (rock, mud, snow); occasional earthquakes; winter storms; flooding; heat, draught, forest fires
  • Manmade – accidents (transportation, industrial, other), tunnel safety, offshore oil and gas hazards
  • Security/Crime– some concern with terrorism and crime

External incidents such as South Asia tsunami are of concern.

norway hazards vulnerabilities risks15
Norway:Hazards, Vulnerabilities, Risks
  • White Paper (1998) valued risk and vulnerability assessment
  • Vulnerability Commission (1999) examined society-wide and sector-specific risks and institutional capability to address them
  • Annual National Vulnerability Assessment (since 2005) highlighting significant risks:
    • Climate change – extreme weather, sea level rise, changes in vegetation, infrastructure disruption, more rockfalls/tsunamis
    • Infrastructure vulnerability, e.g., fire at Oslo Central Station
    • Accidents – train crashes, shipwrecks, tank explosions
    • Other – CBRN, transport of dangerous goods, petroleum industry
norway disaster history
Train Crash Lillestrøm (2000)

Nordland County Storm (2002)

M/V Rocknes Sinking (2004)

Dynamite Theft (2004)

Winter Storm Narve (2006)

Vest Tank Explosion (2007)

Oslo “S” Fire (2007)

Forest Fire (2008)

Norway – Disaster History
norway policies institutions
Norway: Policies & Institutions
  • EM historically fragmented among many public, private, and voluntary entities
  • 1993 – Ministry of Justice assumes a coordinating role, but fragmentation persists
  • 2000 – Report of Vulnerability Commission recommends new Ministry to integrate public roles and authorities for safety and rescue
  • 2003 – Partial integration with establishment of Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB), reporting to Ministry of Justice and the Police
norway policies institutions18
Norway: Policies & Institutions
  • DSB identifies/communicates hazards; promotes and oversees emergency planning; and implements laws on preventing fire, explosion and accidents from dangerous substances; rescue operations; various products; and civilian defense
  • Key Principles
    • “Liability” – an institution responsible for a function during “normal” times retains responsibility during a crisis
    • “Decentralization” – crisis management should occur at the lowest possible level of government
    • “Conformity” – society able to function normally during a crisis

Underlying these is an expectation that each citizen has personal responsibility for his/her own safety

sweden overview
Sweden: Overview
  • Spans 14 degrees of latitude; land borders with Norway and Finland; Gulf of Bothnia, Baltic Sea, Danish Straits
  • Largest (174,000 square miles), most populous (9.3 million), ~15% above Arctic Circle, 220,000 islands
  • Coastline ~ 7,163 miles

Source: European Union http://europa.eu/abc/maps/members/sweden_en.htm

sweden overview cont d
Sweden: Overview (Cont’d)
  • Terrain varies across three unofficial regions; key features include mountains, wilderness, large rivers, lakes, forests, flat coasts, sandy beaches
  • Climate is milder than many areas at similar latitudes, with significant variations regionally
  • Economy evolved from agrarian to industrial during 20th century, based on abundant natural resources (including water for hydroelectric power), design, and inventions. Blends free market and social welfare.
  • Government combines constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy.
sweden hazards vulnerabilities risks
Sweden:Hazards, Vulnerabilities, Risks
  • Natural Hazards - several types of slides; chronic flooding in areas; two major winter storms in three years.
  • Manmade- bridge collapses, train crashes, passenger ferry accidents, electric power grid disruptions
  • Security/Crime - terrorism

South Asia Tsunami proved to be a physical and political catastrophe for Sweden.

sweden hazards vulnerabilities risks22
Sweden: Hazards, Vulnerabilities, Risks
  • Commission on Vulnerability and Security in a New Era (1999) discussed changing threats due to Cold War’s end, globalization, complex infrastructure, and climate change
  • National society-wide threat and risk analyses since 2005
  • Sector-specific analyses (e.g., Climate Change)
sweden disasters
Landslide Tuve (1977)

Assassination of Prime Minister (1986)

Ferry Estonia Sinking (1994)

Mount Fulufjället Flooding (1997)

Nightclub Fire (1998)

Fatal Attack on Foreign Minister (2003)

South Asian Tsunami (2004)

Hurricane Gudrun (2005)

Forest Fire Boden (2006)

E6 Landslide (2006)

Winter Storm Per (2007)

Sweden - Disasters
sweden policies institutions
Sweden: Policies & Institutions
  • Pre – 1999 – Swedish Agency for Civil Emergency Planning established in 1986, sharing responsibility with dozens of other national, regional, and local authorities
  • 1999 – Commission on Vulnerability and Security in a New Era
  • 2002 – Swedish Emergency Management Agency replaces Swedish Agency for Civil Emergency Planning; served as a support and coordinating agency, not an operations one
  • 2003 – New Civil Protection Act (effective 2004), requiring municipalities to conduct annual risk assessments and send results to SEMA; but EM still fragmented
  • 2004 – 2005 – Tsunami plus major winter storm (Gudrun) two weeks later, shocked public and rocked Sweden’s political establishment
  • 2006 – 2007 – New commission recommends organizational and other changes which result in creation of MSB
sweden policies institutions25
Sweden:Policies & Institutions
  • Key Principles
    • Principle of responsibility – whoever is responsible for an activity in normal times retains responsibility during a crisis
    • Principle of parity – calls for organization of authorities during a crisis to be as similar as possible to peace time structure
    • Principle of proximity – states that crises should be dealt with at the lowest possible level, preferably by local government
sweden policies institutions26
Sweden:Policies & Institutions
  • New Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB)
    • Consolidates former Swedish Emergency Management Agency, Swedish Rescue Services Agency, and Swedish National Board of Psychological Defense
    • Addresses entire spectrum of risks to civilian society
    • Executes full range of policymaking and action
  • Other initiatives
    • Crisis Management Center in Government Offices
    • Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Consular Services strengthening of emergency preparedness
  • Today, varying levels of “centralization” at national level
  • Drivers for EM change trends (e.g., end of Cold War, Y2K and new technology, climate change) plus specific internal and external incidents, multilateral initiatives
  • Reliance on risk and vulnerability analysis to keep up with trends and set priorities