|Updated: 20-Mar-2003||NATO Speeches|
20 March 2003
“National Perspectives on Response Structures to Threats”
A new character of threats that have lately appeared (e.g. growth of
quantity and intensity of natural calamities – floods, droughts,
hurricanes, heavy rains, epidemical threats – BSE, foot and mouth
disease, bio – terrorism) has caused necessity for reconstruction
of civil protection system in Poland. Also, political, economical and
administrative changes (privatisation of economy, accession to NATO, administrative
reform – set up second self - government level, efforts for accession
to European Union) have influenced in this scope.
Besides, a group of experts has been appointed by the Minister of Interior Affairs and Administration to prepare new solutions in scope of civil protection, crisis management and rescue system.
Now, the main task is to introduce above mentioned acts into live. During this process we will take into consideration following aspects:
In regard to above mentioned conditions, existing plans and procedures are just really modified. Unfortunately, very often that modifications are taken directly in the face of a danger.
Below, it is presented some aspects of response structures to threats, in particular WMD in Poland.
1. Command and control.
There are indicated bodies responsible for reaction in case of individual kinds of threats in Poland. Unfortunately, same troubles are met in scope of coordination their activities. The main observe problem is in one case conflict of competence (similar tasks for few bodies) and in the other case lack of a body that is able to deal with a threat. This problem appeared in 2001 with anthrax danger. In that case competent authorities were sanitary and veterinary inspections and civil defence formations, but in fact only fire brigades were able to deal rescue operations (we noticed approx. 1000 alarms concerning anthrax <“white powder”>, fortunately all were false). Mentioned weak point, we should improve in near future.
2. Emergency Operations Plans.
There are a few emergency operations plans in Poland, among other:
However, in case of emergency same of that plans are not useful for rescue action organisation. Among other, this problem concerns operational plans in case of use WMD. For example, procedures in case of bio-terrorism, we had to really verify at the moment when the threat appeared.
3. Health and medical.
In frame of preparation of “Inventory of National Capabilities Required for an Immediate Response to the Possible Use of CBR Weapons Against Civilian Populations”, inventory of health and medical measures has been done. It covered:
4. Credible threat information.
There are plans and procedures in scope of threat information (monitoring) in Poland. Many civilian and military bodies participate in this area. Received by one institution information is immediately sent to other interested institutions, responsible for rescue reaction. Information is exchanged both between individual administration levels, and between cooperated institutions on the same level. But, in same cases, specially in scope of chemical and biological monitoring, objective procedures are not excellent. So, very important task is to organise special recognition teams and laboratories, educate medical and other personnel and prepare adjusted procedures for information exchanging. Also, we would like to apply new telecommunication technologies and computer systems. Training and exercises are dealt, but we assess that their scale should be spread.
5. Operational co-ordination.
As was mentioned at p. 1 there are same troubles in scope of operational coordination in case of WMD use. But, in the face of emergency, that troubles were removed by extemporary decisions of competent authorities (Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration or other competent Minister). Now, very important is changing temporary solutions into comprehensive solutions.
6. Protective Action Recommendations.
In light of prepared “Inventory ...”, there are quite a lot of recommendations to the population impacted by a WMD threat in Poland. However, their distribution and popularisation among the population is not correct. This point is perceived as very important task for improvement.
7. Personnel Resources.
Inventory of capability that was dealt in 2001 showed that there are only limited number of properly equipped, trained and exercised teams and personnel to respond in case of WMD incident in Poland. So, we can sufficiently react against WMD effects only in case of small scale accidents. In face of mass emergency (e.g. war operations) our capability do not assure required safety level. Civil defence formations – main forces that are appointed to respond chemical, biological and radiological threats were organised in previous political and economical system period of time. So, now most of their equipment is out of date and does not fulfil technical and functional standards. The main reason for that state is of course financial barrier, but also some legal and organisational lacks. As was mentioned, that problems are currently analysed and new teams and personnel will be organised and well equipped.
8. Mutual Aid Plans.
Polish side participates in international mutual aid. A few rescue teams, specially chemical and technical groups, are organised and can be used immediately to rescue operations abroad. That teams function on base of international procedures. Also, we have procedures to receive international aid.
9. Equipment and Supplies.
We systematically conduct inventory of the equipment for response to WMD incidents. Because of earlier mentioned difficulties we have serious problems to replace missing or deficient equipment. Also, we do not have sufficient recognition and data bases for identify all supplies of measures against WMD incidents.
10. Public information.
Public information system in Poland base on siren signals and media announcements.
Now, we have four alarm signals, what is serious barrier for their good
perception by the public. So, we encourage a solution bases on one siren
(alarm) signal, connected in one procedure with media announcement. Also,
we have to developed legal framework to define precisely protocols and
procedures to obtain and provide media with emergency information and
safety instructions for the public.
11. Critical Infrastructure Mitigation.
There are many general safety requirements concerning all kinds of building, installations and other objects in Poland. Also, we have particular requirements for objects that are important from public safety point of view. But, in light of last experience, we assess that in scope of WMD threats many solutions have to be modified. One of important point is to set up new procedures in scope of restoration of objects (buildings, installations, systems) were effected by WMD. Of course, firstly we should conduct detailed inventory of individual segments of critical infrastructure.
12. Laws and Authorities.
As was mentioned at the beginning, Polish civil protection and crisis management system is changing at the moment. Despite this situation general rules and competent authorities are known. So, main responsible bodies are leaders of public administration on separate levels. Crisis management teams are organised to help them. Now, we have different teams for individual kinds of threats. In future we would like set up only one crisis management team at the separate administrative levels. Also, competence and activities coordination of rescue services, non- governmental organisations and other civil protection bodies must be clarified. Other details regarding individual segments of civil protection and crisis management system was shown above.
13. Rescue procedures of the National Rescue System.
Fighting against radiological threats.
Fighting against chemical threats.
Within the range of society informing and warning there is a system working in civil defence range. The core of the system are alarm signals passed on by siren network and announcements from mass-media.
Adding up, it can be said that no response system to threats is so good
that it does not need an improving.