Danish Emergency Management Agency

Established December 23, 1992
Activated January 1, 1993
Director Henning Thiesen
Budget (2005) 496 million DKK
Homepage www.brs.dk
Employees 600 staff
~750 conscripts every 6 months
400 volunteers

Logo of DEMA, when on International operations.

The Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) is a Danish
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 governmental agency under the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (Denmark)
The Ministry of Defence of Denmark is a ministry in the Danish government. It is charged with overall planning, development, and strategic guidance of the entire area of responsibility of the Danish Defence minister, including the armed forces and the emergency management sector...

. Its principal task is to manage an operational part who work out of six Emergency Management Centres, and administrative and legalizing part, who supervises the national and municipal rescue preparedness and advices the authorities on matters of preparedness. DEMA works in closely structured co-operation with the EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and several neighbouring countries.

DEMA is capable of deploying abroad on request from another state or an international organisation. The decision to render assistance is taken in co-counsel with the Danish Foreign Ministry
Foreign Minister of Denmark
The Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs handles Denmark's foreign affairs. The Foreign Minister works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.The current Minister for Foreign Affairs is Villy Søvndal.-External links:***...

. DEMA can give support in instances of natural disasters and accidents, technological events and crises and civil wars. It is able to react quickly in acute situations and leave its home base within hours on smaller missions, and have the ability to deploy a mobile hospital in only 24 hours.


By the Danish Preparedness Act (Beredskabsloven) , which came into force on January 1, 1992, the former WW2 era wartime civil defense corps was changed into a peace time "Emergency Management Agency", that could primarily work in peacetime.

The Danish Emergency Management Agency was created out of the two agencies responsible for these former services, namely "Civilforsvarsstyrelsen" (Civil Defense Agency) and "Statens Brandinspektion" (Governmental Fire Inspection Agency).

The Civil Defence was created March 1, 1938, as the State Civil Air Defence (Statens civile luftværn) and was under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior and Health (Denmark)
The Ministry of the Interior and Health is a Danish ministry created on 24 November 1848, after Denmark became a constitutional monarchy. For most of its existence it was known as the Ministry of the Interior...

. The name Civil Defence dates from the first Civil Defence law of April 1, 1949.

The municipal fire services and the Governmental Fire Inspection Agency was under the Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice of Denmark
Ministry of Justice of Denmark is the Danish government ministry responsible for the general judicial system, including the police and the prosecution service, the courts of law, and prisons and the probation service...


The new Danish Emergency Management Agency came under the responsibility of Ministry of the Interior, however as of February 1, 2004 it is under the Ministry of Defence.

By means of a number of political agreements supported widely by the parties in the Danish Parliament, the rescue preparedness has been continuously developed and adapted to the changing demands made by the society and the changes in the security-policy situation.

DEMA and the public

When the Civil Air Defense was created the vehicles where old gray trucks, and this truck-color was kept for many years. The uniform of the Civil Air Defense, and later the Civil Defense was also kept gray, with orange shoulders and blue triangles - The international icon for civil protection.

Later the vehicles was painted orange to show that it is a true Civil Defense agency and still are this color - Denmark being one of the only nations left still using the Civil Defense colors and logo to this extend. The uniforms where modernized in the year 2000, and the old gray uniform was replaced by a new dark blue uniform, called M/2000. The uniform has been edited some times, and a new rescue-uniform was created in 2009 for USAR teams. The M/2000 is being replaced by a new uniform currently under development.

When on international deplyment the DEMA often uses discrete civilian clothing, mostly in a sand/brown color. Experiences have shown that the dark blue uniform may often be mistaken af military or police in other countries, and this has given some unfortunate situations.

The only current deployment where the uniform is used is the UNIFIL deployment in Lebanon, where a special uniform has been developed for the hot climate.

Although DEMA hasn't been called Civil Defense (Civilforsvaret) for more than 15 years, the general public still often refers to it as the Civil Defense, and a lot don't know what DEMA is.

Municipal Fire Departments

The primary firefighting work in Denmark are done by municipal fire departments and all municipalities are required by law to have a fire department. Before 1992 the municipal fire department where controlled by "Statens Brandinspektion" (Governmental Fire Inspection Agency), but with the law-change in 1992 the responsibility was given to the Civil Preparedness Division of DEMA.

The municipalities doesn't have to do the firefighting themselves, and a large part of the fire department services are done by the private firm Falck A/S
Falck (Denmark)
Falck A/S is a Nordic-based organisation with activities in most areas of Europe and representation on three continents. The four business areas: Healthcare, Assistance, Training and Emergency together make up Falck’s business...


Regional Support Centers

The agency has a staff of some 600 people. About 170 of these are employed in the central Emergency Management Agency in Birkerød
Birkerød is a town and was a municipality in Frederiksborg County on the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark...

. The rest are employed at the agency’s six centers and two schools. It is possible to do conscription-service for the Danish military in the operational section of DEMA and the agency has around 750 conscripts every 6 months.

Unlike the military where the normal service length is 4 months and there are no operational tasks, conscription service in DEMA is 6 months in length. Also the conscripts are made part of the national emergency response after 1 month of service and are often participation in firefighting and rescue operations. The conscripts get a full firefighters education and are trained in the following fields:
  • Firefighting
  • Rescue and USAR
    USAR may refer to one of the following:*Unconditional Search and Replace, an initialism used in computing for features in text editors and computer operating systems...

  • Advanced first aid, patient assessment and treatment (On EMT-B level)
  • Communications
  • Heavy vehicle usage (All conscripts must have a normal drivers license before starting, and are offered a lorry-license for free)
    Hazmat, HazMat and similar terms can refer to:* Hazardous materials and items—see Dangerous goods** Hazchem—a system of hazardous chemical classification and firefighting modes** A hazmat suit is a type of protective clothing...

The Emergency Management Centers are located all over the country and almost every part of the country can be reached within one hour of receiving the alarm. The centers are located in:
  • Beredskabsstyrelsen Nordjylland (Thisted
    Thisted is a town in Thisted municipality of Region Nordjylland, in Denmark. It has a population of 13,005 and is located in Thy, in northwestern Jutland....

    )(conscription barracks and specialist in breathing apparatus)
  • Beredskabsstyrelsen Midtjylland (Herning
    Herning Municipality is a municipality in Region Midtjylland on the Jutland peninsula in western Denmark. The municipality covers an area of 1,336 km² and a total population of 84,208...

    )(conscription barracks and specialist in international operations)
  • Beredskabsstyrelsen Sydjylland (Haderslev
    Haderslev is a town and municipality on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula in south Denmark. Also included is the island of Årø as well as several other smaller islands in the Little Belt. The municipality covers and has a population of 56,414 . Its mayor is Jens Christian Gjesing,...

    )(conscription barracks and specialist in uniform and protective clothing)
  • Beredskabsstyrelsen Sjælland (Næstved)(conscription barracks and specialist in specialized vehicles)
  • Beredskabsstyrelsen Bornholm (Allinge) (conscription barracks)
  • Beredskabsstyrelsen Hedehusene (Hedehusene
    Hedehusene, a railway town in Denmark, lies between Copenhagen and Roskilde. The town started its slow development in 1847, when the railway between Copenhagen and Roskilde was finished....

    ) (300 man large volunteer center)

The primary function of the above centers are to assist municipal fire departments at major fires, assist to police, and to take care of the danish nuclear fallout
Nuclear fallout
Fallout is the residual radioactive material propelled into the upper atmosphere following a nuclear blast, so called because it "falls out" of the sky after the explosion and shock wave have passed. It commonly refers to the radioactive dust and ash created when a nuclear weapon explodes...

 preparedness, HazMat preparedness, USAR/rescue preparedness and all other relevant tasks.

Beredskabsstyrelsen Hedehusene is a 100% volunteer center the only exception being the chief officer and some teachers offering courses to private rescue firms. All the other centers are manned by conscripts who are controlled by a single officer and a couple of sergeants.

Municipal Support Centers

Besides from the regional support centers there are also some minor support points that have equipment paid for by DEMA, but are manned by municipal volunteer firefighters. These support points are, like the regional support points, support centers for the municipal fire departments in case of major fires and other emergencies.

The Municipal Support Centers are located at:
  • Beredskabscenter Aalborg (Aalborg
    -Transport:On the north side of the Limfjord is Nørresundby, which is connected to Aalborg by a road bridge Limfjordsbroen, an iron railway bridge Jernbanebroen over Limfjorden, as well as a motorway tunnel running under the Limfjord Limfjordstunnelen....

  • Århus Brandvæsen (Århus)
  • Beredskabet (Esbjerg
    Esbjerg Municipality is a municipality in Region of Southern Denmark on the west coast of the Jutland peninsula in southwest Denmark. Its mayor is Johnny Søtrup, from the Venstre political party...

  • Fredericia Brandvæsen (Fredericia
    Fredericia is a town located in Fredericia municipality in the eastern part of the Jutland peninsula in Denmark, in a sub-region known locally as Trekanten, or The Triangle...

  • Odense Brandvæsen (Odense
    The city of Odense is the third largest city in Denmark.Odense City has a population of 167,615 and is the main city of the island of Funen...

  • Kalundborg Brand & Redning (Kalundborg
    Kalundborg is a city with a population of 16,434 in Kalundborg municipality in Denmark and the site of its municipal council. Kalundborg is on the main island Zealand, with Copenhagen, but opposite on the far western edge....

  • Beredskabsforvaltningen (Fredensborg-Humlebæk
    Until January 1, 2007, Fredensborg-Humlebæk Kommune was a municipality on the east coast of the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark. The municipality covered an area of 72 km², and had a total population of 20,024 . Its last mayor was John Hemming, a member of the Conservative People's...

  • Falster Redningsberedskab (Nykøbing Falster
    Nykøbing Falster
    Nykøbing Falster is a southern Danish city, seat of the Guldborgsund kommune. It belongs to Region Sjælland. The city lies on Falster, connected by the 295-meter-long Frederick IX Bridge over the Guldborgsund waterway to the island of Lolland. The town has a population of 16,464...

  • Greve Redningsberedskab (Greve
    Greve is any of the following:* Greve Municipality, in Region Sjælland on the island of Zealand in Denmark** Greve Strand, the municipal seat of Greve** Greve Station, one of the railway stations in the Danish municipality** Greve Parish...


International Operations

DEMA has participated in several international operations since the beginning of the 90's. Some notable missions are:
  • Supply run in Bosnia in 1992 (here to convoy was attacked and a civil defense sergeant was killed)
  • USAR after the 1992 Earthquake in Turkey
  • Mobile Hospital in Afghanistan
  • Mobile Hospital in Aceh
    Aceh is a special region of Indonesia, located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Its full name is Daerah Istimewa Aceh , Nanggroë Aceh Darussalam and Aceh . Past spellings of its name include Acheh, Atjeh and Achin...

     after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami
  • Evacuation of Danish civilians from Lebanon during the 2006 conflict
  • 2010 Pakistan earthquake
  • Recently DEMA has won a 10 year long contract with the UN about manning a fire department at UN HQ in Naqoura
    Naqoura is a small city in southern Lebanon. Since March 23, 1978 until present, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has been headquartered in Naqoura....

  • 2011 Japan earthquake disaster and following nuclear incident

Nuclear Division

The Nuclear Division's responsibilities include:
  • Inspections of the shutdown of the only nuclear facility in Denmark at Risø
    Risø National Laboratory
    Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy is a scientific research organization north of Roskilde, Denmark. From 1 January 2008 it was made an institute under Technical University of Denmark...

  • The Danish nuclear preparedness
  • International cooperation on nuclear safety and nuclear preparedness within the Nordic countries, the EU (EURATOM)
  • The IAEA
    International Atomic Energy Agency
    The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

     and the OECD
    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

  • Nuclear support programmes for countries in Eastern Europe
    Eastern Europe
    Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

Chemical Division

The chemical division's responsibilities include:
  • Analytical chemical investigations of unknown substances, including chemical warfare agents and explosives.
  • Examination of dangerous goods and hazardous materials.
  • Advisory services, including the National Chemical Response Center (Kemikalieberedskabsvagten), and education and research.

Civil Preparedness Division

The Danish Preparedness Act stipulates that each ministry, agency, or other authority in the Danish government
Politics of Denmark
The Politics of Denmark takes place in a framework of a parliamentary, representative democratic, constitutional monarchy, in which the Prime Minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system...

 is required to carry out relevant planning within their respective sector to deal with a serious adverse impact on critical functions of society. CPD helps facilitate planning within the different sectors and the coordination between the different sectors. This includes responsibility for national emergency planning, publication of guidance materials, courses, and other activities to strengthen the cooperation between the different actors in the Danish civil preparedness establishment.

Most recently the education for both firefighters and firechiefs has been completely revised in 2009 and 2010.

Emergency Management Schools

  • DEMA Staff College (Snekkersten
    Snekkersten is a small borough of Helsingør Commune. It is 4 km south of central Helsingør, Denmark.The small village was a fishing and seafaring community. Today, most of the inhabitants are commuters, either working in Helsingør or Copenhagen...

  • DEMA Technical College (Tinglev
    Tinglev is a town with a population of 2,816 in Aabenraa municipality in Region of Southern Denmark on the Jutland peninsula in south Denmark....

  • Bernstorff Palace
    Bernstorff Palace
    Bernstorff Palace, Danish: Bernstorff Slot, in Gentofte, Copenhagen, Denmark, was built in the middle of the 18th century for Foreign Minister Johann Hartwig Ernst, Count von Bernstorff. It remained in the possession of the Bernstorff family until 1812. In 1842 it was bought by Christian VIII...

    , DEMA Management Academy, (Gentofte
    Gentofte Kommune is a municipality in the Capital Region of Denmark on the east coast of the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark. The municipality covers an area of , and has a total population of 68,913...

    ) (closed in 2008)

External links

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