The Russian Civil Protection and the Italian example

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The function of Civil Protection in Russia and its main differences with the Italian one: here follows our interview with Mr. Sergey Molchanov, Deputy Head of the Scientific Department of EMERCOM, the Ministry of Russian Civil Protection.

The Russian Civil Protection and the Italian example

EMERCOM (Emergency Control Ministry) is the acronym for the Russian Federation Ministry dedicated to Civil Protection, emergency and reconstruction after natural disasters. Emercom was officially born on January 1994, although the Russian Rescue Corps - tasked with the assignment to quickly respond to various kind of emergencies - had actually been operative since 1990. An Emercom delegation attended with its own stand to the Civil Protect 2013 exhibition dedicated to Civil Protection, fire prevention and emergency that was held in Bozen (Italy) from March 22nd to 24th. Our editorial staff has interviewed Mr. Sergey Molchanov, Deputy Head of the Scientific Department of the Ministry of Russian Civil Protection, to have an outline about the function of Civil Protection in Russia and the reason for their presence at the Bozen exhibition.

"In the Russian Federation - Mr. Molchanov explained - we have the Ministry for the Civil Protection which deals with all emergency situations and is divided into different departments: ours is a very wide territory (Russia is the biggest country in the world with its 17.075.400 km²), so the local organization is structured among 8 centers that manage all the civil protection activities on the territory through 90 committees that deal with fireproof systems, sanitary emergencies, natural disasters and so on. Every local committee is provided with everything they need to face the emergencies: means, technology, qualified personnel capable of responding to any kind  of situation. We have highly skilled and specialized scientists and technicians, and also a special Mountain Rescue Corp, trained for mines rescues".

"The whole system - continues Mr. Molchanov - is organized "vertically": at the apex there is the central management, and "horizontally" you'll find local and regional structures. Requests and informations come from botton - the local structures - to top: therefore, the top managers take decisions and pass them to the local management".

It'a very well structured system, which however lacks an important player: volunteering. We asked Deputy Head Molchanov about this, and he explained how Russia is making plans in regards to this issue and how Emercom's presence in Bozen falls into this perspective.

"The issue of volunteering is very topical for Russia. We have been working on it for a few years, we are now in the process of training personnel and analysing the mechanisms. We are here in Bozen because we want to study the Italian example, which we find very interesting and valuable. This Civil Protect exhibition is giving us many valuable suggestions".

Bearing in mind the vastness of Russian territory, it's easy to understand how volunteering assumes and extremely important role to ensure an effective and widespread response to emergencies by having trained personnel available on site. "But we must still overcome many bureaucratic obstacles - Molchanov says - we must understand how to organize, how to train our staff, how to provide equipment and so on. The example of your volunteering work is of great help".

At this point, we could not hold back from asking the Deputy Head about how the Civil Protection system handled the exceptional event of February 15th, when 1200 people were injured by the flying glass from windows after the shock wave caused by the explosion of a big meteorite in the skies of Russia, in the Sverdlovsk region and in Northern Kazakhstan.

"As for now - Molchanov explains - there are no means to forecast the approach of phenomena like this: however, in this particular scenario, our Civil Protection system worked very well. We have had many injuries but no casualties, because our intervention was immediate, the Civil Protection system was ready; but this experience has shown us that we still have much to do to improve assistance to the population. We are working on programs for a more effective management of this type of situation. Certainly, if we'd had a volunteering system already well prepared and ready, our answer would have been more effective".

Finally, we bid farewell to Deputy Head Sergey Molchanov, who invited us to meet him in Moscow next May 21-24 for the global security exhibition ISSE - INTEGRATED SAFETY AND SECURITY EXHIBITION 2013, where the best Russian technologies in the Civil Protection and security field will meet with foreign proposals from 50 countries around the world.

Patrizia Calzolari

Here is our full interview with Sergey Molchanov:



CIVIL PROTECT 2013 - Sergey Molchanov (EMERCOM RUSSIA)