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Protective structures

Shelters and protected premises

Protective structures were designed primarily to protect the population (shelters), and to ensure the readiness of civil protection resources (protected premises) during an armed conflict, especially one involving weapons of mass destruction. They provide a basic form of protection against a wide range of direct and indirect arms impact. They should also be available in the case of disasters and emergencies, for example increased radioactivity, an earthquake or an acute risk of an avalanche.

Shelter space for every inhabitant

To respect the principle of equality, every inhabitant should be guaranteed a shelter in the vicinity of her/his place of residence in the case of armed conflict. Today there are shelters existing for nearly the whole population living in Switzerland. In spite of the large number of shelters (370,000) there may be local shortages. There is still an obligation to construct shelters.

Shelters for cultural property

The cantons may obligate owners of cultural property to take or comply with the measures needed for their protection.

Protected premises to ensure management capacities and readiness

The 1,700 protected premises include command posts, facilities for rescue units, and protected first aid posts and hospitals. They serve to ensure the management capacities and the readiness of civil protection resources. Command posts serve management and management support functions. Facilities for rescue units are available to the personnel and a part of the equipment of the partner organisation units.

First aid premises

The Confederation defines framework requirements for protected first aid premises. The cantons are obliged to guarantee facilities and treatment in protected hospitals for at least 0.6 percent of the population (combined with an acute care hospital) and in protected first aid posts (not directly linked to an acute care hospital).

Protective structures concept

In conjunction with the cantons, the FOCP has drawn up a concept for protective structures as a basis for planning the further development and value preservation of protective infrastructure – protective shelters, command posts and holding facilities – over the next 15 to 20 years, with a focus on construction and technical aspects in particular. With regard to shelters for the general public, the concept adheres to the principle of ‘one shelter for every resident in the vicinity of their place of residence’, i.e. there are no plans to reduce the number of shelters: their total number will be maintained. Where possible, small, old shelters that are no longer operational are to be decommissioned in the medium to long term and replaced by newly constructed public shelters or the alternative use of surplus protected premises.

The concept also addresses the future need for protected premises (command posts and holding facilities). The requirements of the management bodies and civil defence organisations in the cantons will determine the number of these protected premises, which may be reduced depending on organisational requirements. Surplus protected premises will thus be freed up for alternative uses.


Konzept Schutzbauten

Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP Guisanplatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern


Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP

Guisanplatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern