A Decade of Scandinavian Research Aimed at Benefiting the Fire Service

Report Date: November 2009

Scandinavia has been a leader in using scientific research to better understand fire behavior, and more importantly, incorporating this understanding into training and tactics for firefighters. This paper summarizes much of the great Scandinavian research aimed at benefiting the fire service. It addresses work towards the better understanding of flashover, backdraft, smoke explosion, ventilation, and suppression tactics.


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  • Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency

    The MSB is responsible for issues concerning civil protection, public safety, emergency management and civil defence as long as no other authority has responsibility. Responsibility refers to measures taken before, during and after an emergency or crisis.

  • Iceland Fire Authority

    Civil Protection and Emergency Management in Iceland

      • The tasks of the Icelandic Civil Protection System are:  Organizing and implementing measures to protect the well being and safety of the public and prevent them from harm, the protection of property and the environment from disasters, caused by natural or manmade hazards, pandemics, military action or other types of disasters; This includes prevention, preparedness and reductions of hazards and recovery.
      • To render relief and assistance due to any losses that have occurred, assist people during emergencies, unless the responsibility for his assistance rests with other authorities or organisations.

    Structure of Civil Protection

    Civil Protection in Iceland falls under the Ministry of Interior according to the Civil Protection Act. Civil Protection responsibilities at the national level are delegated to the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police (NCIP). The NCIP runs a Civil Protection Section which is responsible for daily administration of Civil Protection matters, maintains a national co-ordination/command centre which can be activated at any time and to be in charge of the centre in emergency situations. The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police is also responsible for monitoring and supporting research and studies related to risk factors and natural catastrophes, and co-ordination and support measures aimed at reducing risks of bodily harm.

    The day-to-day functions of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management of the NCIP include risk analysis, mitigation and co-ordination (i.e. planning, training and equipment) and recovery. The role of the NCIP during emergency operations is to procure and deliver all outside assistance (national or international) for a stricken area, which is deemed necessary by the local Chief of Police.

    Government policy on civil protection and security is drawn up by the Civil Protection and Security Council for periods of three years at a time. The following ministers have seats on the Council: The Prime Minister, who is also  the chairman of the council, the Minister of Interior, the Minister for the Environment, the Minister of Welfare the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Industry. In addition, the Prime Minister may co-opt up to two ministers to sit on the council at any time in connection with specific matter

    The following also have seats on the Civil Protection and Security Council:

      • The Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister
      • The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Interior
      • The National Commissioner of Police 
      • The Director of the Icelandic Coast Guard
      • The Director of the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration
      • The Director of the Post and Telecommunications Administration
      • The Director of the National Roads Administration
      • The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for the Environment
      • The Director of the Icelandic Meteorological Office
      • The Director of the Iceland Fire Authority 
      • The Director of the Environmental Agency
      • The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Wefare
      • The Director-General of Public Health
      • The Epidemiological Officer 
      • The Director of the National Radiological Protection Authority
      • The Permanent Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
      • The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry
      • The Director of the National Energy Authority 
      • The Director of Landsnet, the Icelandic Power Transmission Company
      • A representative of ICE-SAR (Slysavarnafélagið Landsbjörg)
      • A representative of the Icelandic Red Cross
      • A representative of the coordinated emergency telephone answering system.

Karlsson, B. & Stefan Svensson. A Decade of Scandinavian Research Aimed at Benefiting the Fire Service. Presented at 3rd FIRESEAT Conference, Edinburgh. 2009. Retrieved from http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/ FIRESEAT/files09/bjorn_paper.pdf. 

Image Credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11978772
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