The most common emergencies that arise concern unexpected events which require a rapid response from the emergency services - the Garda Síochána, the Health Services Executive and the fire service. Other emergencies require a longer term sustained response from the emergency services and various State agencies.
The following could constitute a major emergency:
- Severe weather
- Chemical spills
- Transport accidents (air, sea, rail, road)
- Accidents at sea
- Major pollution incidents at sea
- Bomb explosions / suspicious packages
- Nuclear incident
- Influenza pandemic
- Animal disease outbreak
A major emergency is any event which, usually with little or no warning, causes or threatens injury or death, serious disruption of essential services or damage to property, the environment or infrastructure beyond the normal capabilities of the principal emergency services. It requires the mobilisation of additional resources to ensure an effective and co-ordinated response.
Major Emergency Plans
Each Principal Response Agency (Garda Síochána, Health Service Executive and local authorities) has an individual major emergency plan, which sets out its arrangements to respond to major emergencies. These agencies' plans are in turn consistent with the arrangements set out in the Framework for Major Emergency Management. There are also specific plans in place to respond to other types of emergencies, such as a nuclear incident or an influenza pandemic.
The Framework for Major Emergency Management was finalised in 2008 following a review of the 1984 Framework for Co-Ordinated Response to Major Emergencies. The principal response agencies are now working to incorporate this new framework into their own existing emergency plans. Further information on the implementation of the Framework is contained at mem.ie. On other pages of this site you will find details of plans to respond to a wide range of emergencies.