Civil protection

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The term civil protection is a collective term for all institutions and activities in the areas of civil protection, respectively civil defense . Disaster control encompasses the protection of people, property and the natural environment from the occurrence and consequences of a disaster . In the more specific language, civil protection includes measures to protect the population, companies and public institutions in the event of defense and voltage . The overarching term civil protection takes into account the fact that there are many similarities between the measures in both areas, ranging from the organizations and facilities involved to their technical equipment and other preventive measures to official responsibilities.



When considering the areas of disaster control and civil protection under a common umbrella term, however , it should be noted in Germany that the legislative powers are distributed differently. While civil protection is subject to exclusive federal legislation according to Article 73 of the Basic Law and is assigned to the Federal Ministry of the Interior as part of civil defense, the federal states are responsible for disaster protection according to Articles 30 and  70 of the Basic Law . The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance  (BBK) was re-established as a higher federal authority within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of the Interior on May 1, 2004, established from the Central Office for Civil Protection of the Federal Administrative Office as the successor to the Federal Office for Civil Protection, which was dissolved on January 1, 2001.

The law on the establishment of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBKG) defines the tasks of the BBK:

The Federal Office performs federal tasks in the areas of civil protection and disaster relief which are assigned to it by the Civil Protection Act or other federal laws or on the basis of these laws [...].

According to Section 1 (2) of the Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance Act (ZSKG), civil protection includes the following tasks:

These tasks are carried out in five departments.

The office publishes the journal Civil Protection.

The concept of civil protection is shaped by the concept of the federal government. From now on, the sharp distinction simply by establishing a state of defense is no longer decisive. In 2006/07 the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief was primarily responsible and a. for the introduction of the Medical Task Forces within the framework of the "New Concept in Civil Protection". In this new concept, agreed with the federal states , a new equipment concept, also geared to special hazards such as NBC protection and MANV , was developed as part of the supplementary, civil protection-related equipment that the federal government makes available to the states.

In civil protection, it is still mainly volunteers from the aid organizations , the fire brigades and the Federal Agency for Technical Relief that work with their potential.


In Austria, the agendas of civil protection (civil protection) are distributed across all levels of the state: The federal government takes on national and international coordination, the states take on regional affairs, and municipalities, emergency services and aid organizations carry out on-site implementation. With the exception of the priority involvement of the armed forces, there are no more specific concepts for dealing with military tensions.

The equation of civil protection with disaster and civil protection is based on the constitutional perpetual neutrality of Austria, according to the doctrine of which military crisis situations can only arise on their own national territory because the Austrian army - with the exception of certain participation in international missions - is not allowed to be involved abroad. Since 2004 (all neighbors of Austria's EU members), the national defense doctrines of the Cold War have been considered obsolete, military civil protection can only occur in the context of a pan-European defense case or through irregular threats (e.g. terrorism). In the second case, the armed forces would only be active as an assistance for civilian crisis operations.


In Switzerland, civil protection is essentially organized on a cantonal level and coordinated by the Federal Office for Civil Protection . The so-called partner organizations in civil protection include the police, fire brigade, civil defense, medical services and technical companies.



  • Martin Diebel: Nuclear War and Other Disasters. Civil protection and disaster control in the Federal Republic and Great Britain after 1945 . Paderborn 2017.
  • Wolfram Geier: Between War Scenarios and Peace-Time Disaster Response. On the development of civil defense in the Federal Republic of Germany with special consideration of civil defense and its reforms before and after the end of the Cold War . Marburg 2003.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Especially Swiss usage, in Germany disaster control is also used as a generic term, in Austria the entire subject is summarized under the term civil protection .
  2. Law on the establishment of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBKG)