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Civil protection exercises

The civil protection exercises programme for civil protection and disaster management personnel.

What is it? 

The exercises programme of the Knowledge Network aims to enhance the level of preparedness for UCPM response operations and to strengthen cooperation and coordination of intervention teams in the field. 

It does this by: 

  • ensuring compatibility and complementarity between the intervention teams deployed through Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) missions and other intervention support,
  • improving the competences of the experts involved in the European civil protection system.

The exercises programme shall consist of: 

(a) modules, table-top and field exercises;
(b) full-scale exercises; and
(c) other types of exercises, based on identified needs. 


Who can participate? 

EU Member States and UCPM Participating States’ Modules, Other Response Capacities, Technical Assistance Support Teams (TAST) registered in the Common Emergency Communication and Information System (CECIS) and European Civil Protection Team (EUCPT) experts. 
Exercises can be hosted inside or outside Europe depending on the type of exercises. 


Modules table top and field exercises

To better prepare experts and capacities for international deployments under the UCPM and improve compatibility and interoperability between intervention teams.

Modules table top and field exercises (EU MODEX)

EU MODEX exercises test coordination, interoperability, self-sufficiency, standard operating procedures, safety and security, reporting and communication as well as specific learning objectives of Modules, Other Response Capacities, TAST and EUCPT experts.

EU MODEX is used for the certification of Modules and Other Response Capacities for the European Civil Protection Pool. It also has the capacity to support the INSARAG International re-classification of Urban Search and Rescue teams and a WHO certification for Emergency Medical Teams.

There are two types of EU MODEX exercises:

Module table-top exercises

On the basis of an exercise scenario, the discussion-based exercises focus on strategic decision-making and managerial preparation for an international deployment (coordination, procedures, reporting and communication arrangements). The management of Modules, Other Response Capacities and TAST, as well as a EUCPT, participate in table-top exercises.

Module field exercises

Field exercises are participant-driven and focus on operational aspects of the minimum requirements during the phases of international deployment: mobilisation/arrival; operations; and demobilisation. The full Module, Other Response Capacities, TAST and the EUCPT participate in field exercises.

The exercise scenarios can be based on floods, forest fires, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN),earthquakes and medical emergencies.


Full-scale exercises

To improve civil protection preparedness and response to all kinds of disasters inside or outside the Member States of the UCPM.

Full-scale exercises improve civil protection preparedness and response to all kinds of disasters inside or outside the Member States of the UCPM by providing a test environment and a learning opportunity for all actors involved in civil protection assistance interventions.

A full-scale exercise combines:

Table-top exercises (TTX)

The discussion-based exercise simulates an emergency and generates discussions around it. It is designed to put crisis response managers and practitioners in a situation where they must use existing plans and procedures and make decisions accordingly. Participants are presented with a situation or problem that they are required to discuss to formulate an appropriate response or solution. This type of exercise is used to practice problem solving and coordinating services with or without time pressures. There is no deployment or actual use of equipment or resources.

Command post exercises (CPX)

CPX is a functional exercise in which the field response and deployment is simulated, involving the headquarters and/or coordination centres that normally intervene in an emergency. All plans, procedures, communication and activities that would be performed during a real response are conducted with the exception of the field activities.

Full-scale exercises (FSX)

The most complex and resource-intensive operation-based exercise. They involve multiple agencies, organisations and jurisdictions and validate many facets of preparedness. Full-scale exercises often include many international players operating under the host nation command system. In a full-scale exercise, events are projected through an exercise scenario with event updates that drive activity at every level of the civil protection system. The exercise incorporates political, strategic, operational and/or tactical aspects and includes the local, regional, national, European and international response. Full-scale exercises are conducted in a real-time, stressful environment that is intended to mirror a real major emergency. Many activities occur simultaneously therefore the preparatory actions and planning needed to conduct a full-scale exercise are greater than for other types of exercises.


Other exercises

To enhance the integration of the UCPM assistance into the overall relief effort of the disaster affected country.

Host nation support table top exercise

Focus on challenges encountered by a country affected by a disaster in receiving, integrating and coordinating the international assistance in its response operations.

Want to host an exercise?

Find information on funding & tendering opportunities

Consult here


How can I register?

To take part in exercises, experts must be nominated by their National Training Coordinators. Modules, Other Response Capacities and TAST must apply through their National Focal Points.

National civil protection authorities willing to host a full-scale exercise must consult the funding and tender opportunities on the European Commission Participants Portal. (Funding & tenders (


Why take part?

Thanks to the UCPM exercises programme, all actors involved in civil protection assistance interventions (Modules, Other Response Capacities, experts) and disaster management stakeholders are better prepared to respond to disasters inside and outside the European Union, collectively and in an efficient and effective manner.


More information

Civil Protection Exercises Factsheet

(905.79 KB - PDF)

Training brochure

(870.05 KB - PDF)