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Unidad Militar de Emergencias Military Emergency Unit [UME]

On 7 October 2005, the Council of Ministers created within the armed forces, the Military Emergency Unit (UME - Unidad Militar de Emergencias). The purpose was simple. The armies went to collaborate with the other administrations to meet specialized and professionally, those situations in which, for various reasons, the citizen need his presence there is danger to their life or their material goods in an emergency.

Assistance in critical emergency and catastrophe situations involves the use of military capabilities and personnel for maximum coordination and effectiveness in supporting civil emergency plans and Civil Protection in catastrophic situations in national or foreign territory. This also includes fighting fires, aiding in natural or ecological/environmental disasters (either natural or provoked) and situations of dire need. Support will be primarily focused on sanitation, supply distribution, the establishment of infrastructures, surveillance of areas susceptible to environmental aggressions or ecological harm, and possible clean-up and recovery.

In this context, military capabilities may also be used to support Civil Protection and Autonomous Community authorities in the event of NBCR threats to the population. Various large-scale catastrophes have demonstrated the need to increase Armed Forces cooperation with the various State Administrations in actions to control and alleviate the effects of these tragedies. Experiences of military collaboration in the management of national emergencies confirm the need for urgent legal reform at various levels to increase effectiveness.

Society demands that the State is the guarantor of global security. A requirement that transcends the daily assistance extending their demands to new requirements in the field of emergencies. And it is that, at present, daily responsiveness of the State security forces and bodies and health services, joins the need to confront the challenges that threaten the security and well-being of citizens in cases of serious risk, catastrophe, calamity or other public needs with efficiency and guarantee.

Spain has been the scene in recent years of a series of events that have marked a before and an after in the analysis and reflection on what should be the participation of the State in matters linked to aid in emergency situations. Catastrophes such as the serious fire which affected the province of Guadalajara in 2005; which calcined thousands of hectares in the autonomous community of Galicia in 2006; the sinking of the ship "Prestige", which blackened the Galician coast, have assumed that the General Administration of the State and the autonomous communities have been determined by the creation, in a few cases, or empowerment, in others services technically specialized and highly qualified to meet expeditiously the demand citizen in each case.

The military emergency unit (UME) is a joint force, organized on a permanent basis, which has as its mission the intervention anywhere in the national territory, to contribute to the security and well-being of citizens, together with the institutions of the State and public administrations, in cases of serious risk, catastrophe, calamity or other public needs, as established in the organic law 5/200517 November, national defense and the rest of the legislation in force.

Royal Decree 416/2006, of 11 April, that establishes your organization and deployment, to enable its development and Constitution and facilitate its plan of implementation throughout the national territory, carrying out, in addition to the organic task force preparation, operational missions assigned to them by the President of the Government.The following year, order DEF/1766/2007 of 13 June, develops the framework, organization and functioning of the EMU. It also establishes that EMU organically dependent on the Minister of defence, operationally from the Chief of the defence staff and functionally superior and managerial bodies that determines its specific regulations.Subsequently, the Royal Decree 1097 / 2011, on 22 July, approves the Protocol of intervention of the military unit of emergencies and establishes that the intervention of the EMU may be ordered when any of the following emergency situations occurs with character grave, regardless of whether an emergency of national interest or not.

  • Those that have their origin in natural hazards, including floods, flood, earthquakes, landslides of land, large snowfall and other adverse meteorological phenomena of great magnitude.
  • Forest fires.
  • Those resulting from technological risks, and among them the chemical risk, the nuclear, the radiological and biological.
  • Those which are the result of terrorist attacks or acts of illegal and violent, including those against critical infrastructure, dangerous installations or with nuclear, biological, radiological or chemical agents.
  • The pollution of the environment.
  • Any otherchosen by the Prime Minister.
The performances of the EMU before any of these things materialize in planning, training and intervention. However the EMU does not perform tasks of prevention and its troops will act always framed in the unit to which they belong and directed by their scorecards. This Protocol also empowers the Minister of defence to enact provisions that may be necessary to regulate the operating conditions that may be applicable to the participation of the EMU in operations abroad.

The creation of EMU coincided, in spirit and in letter, with the required unit to carry out the new mission that, a month later, would establish article 15.3 of the organic law 5/2005, of national defence. The armed forces, together with the institutions of the State and public administrations, must preserve the safety and well-being of citizens in cases of serious risk, catastrophe, calamity or other public needs, in accordance with the legislation in force.

The Government opted for the establishment of a unit of rapid intervention, full availability, military presence throughout the national territory and who respond in agile and effective way to the needs of Spanish society. Thus, the newly created Unit received the mission to act in those emergencies that have their origin in natural hazards: floods, earthquakes, heavy snowfall, forest fires as well as those derived from technological risks.

Availability manifests in level 2 emergency (there are four levels: 0, 1, 2 and 3), at the request of the regional authorities with responsibility in the emergency declared in each case, adjusting to provisions in the legislation of civil protection. Level 3 emergencies are the so-called national interest and, therefore, require the leadership role of the State, which materialize in executive function through the emergency military unit.

The volunteer reservists applying for joining the EMU to provide services must have passed a specific course for RV (NIRVUME). The NIRVUME is a phase of instruction and training that, for two weeks, is carried out in the basis 'General Alvarez de Castro' of San Clemente de Sescebes in Gerona. Taught two modules, the first, common for all RV, includes theoretical and practical sessions devoted to the knowledge of the EMU and to training in emergency (specific material of the EMU, basic life support practices aimed at mobilization of casualties and his rescue, acting in floods, rubble removal, against fire, etc)., while the second module is aimed at specific health training: doctors and nurses to life support advanced, veterinary and pharmaceutical management of toxic and hazardous waste and psychologists to intervention in catastrophes.





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Page last modified: 16-01-2013 19:00:45 ZULU