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How NBC protection is organised in Switzerland

A wide range of civilian and military institutions cooperate closely in NBC protection at all levels (federal, cantonal and communal). The same is also true for preventive measures, the preparation, crisis management and leadership.

Cantonal level

The cantons are usually in charge of managing chemical and biological incidents as well as incidents leading to an increase in radioactivity, provided only a small area is affected. The many tasks relating to NBC protection are primarily carried out by the police, the fire service as well as the cantonal management bodies and laboratories.
In its role as a primary intervention resource, the fire service may have to deal with the release of dangerous chemicals, bio-agents or nuclear radiation. For incidents affecting a relatively small area, such as transport or laboratory accidents involving the release of radioactivity, the special radiation protection units of the fire service are deployed in direct cooperation with the National Emergency Operations Centre NEOC and the federal emergency task force from both the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI or the Institute of Applied Radiophysics IRA. The Civil Protection Organisation may also be involved, should an incident occur that leads to an increase in radioactivity.
Through the cantonal NBC platform (CPNBC) cantonal personnel in charge of NBC issues coordinate the efforts of all partners involved in precautionary and preparatory NBC protection.

The Federal Commission for NBC Protection ComNBC

The ComNBC is an advisory specialist body whose task consists in supporting the supply process (with experts) and in evaluating documents and concepts relating to NBCN precautionary measures. The purpose of ComNBC work is to ensure sufficient protection of the population against NBC dangers and threats.

The Spiez Laboratory

The Spiez Laboratory is Switzerland’s establishment for protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threats and dangers. It has the requisite laboratories and measuring equipment to ensure that it can fullfil this task.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC)

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is the federal centre of expertise for exceptional events. One of its tasks is the management of incidents involving real or suspected increases in radioactivity, large-scale chemical accidents, overflowing or rupturing of dams, as well as risks related to both satellite re-entry and natural hazards. In any event involving radioactivity, it is charged with ordering immediate measures to protect the population. Regardless of the type of emergency, the NEOC is the first point of contact for the cantons on all civil protection issues.

The Federal Office for Public Health (FOPH)

As a national authority, the Federal Office for Public Health FOPH is – together with the cantons –in charge of public health and the development of a national health strategy. It is responsible for monitoring infectious diseases and for radiation protection in Switzerland and prepares the necessary regulations.

The NBC EOD Centre of Competence of the Armed Forces

The head of medical services / the Surgeon General is responsible for the development of a medical doctrine and operational concept for the NBC branch of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS). The NBC EOD Centre of Competence (nuclear, biological, chemical, explosive ordnance disposal and mine action) of the Armed Forces in Spiez and Thun is in charge of NBC defence and military EOD.

Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP Federal Staff and Pre-decautionary Planning
Guisanlatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern


Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP

Federal Staff and Pre-decautionary Planning
Guisanlatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern