Norwegian Civil Defence

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The international distinctive sign of civil defense, defined by the rules of International Humanitarian Law and to be used as a protective sign

Norwegian Civil Defence (Norwegian: Sivilforsvaret) is the civil defence organization of Norway.

The Norwegian Civil Defence sorts under the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning which again reports to the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police.

The organization is based on conscription where both men and women between the age of 18 and 65 can be called to serve.

The Civil Defence are to support the police, fire departments and health care in case of larger incidents which those departments don't have the manpower to handle.


The Norwegian Civil Defence is split into.

  • Peacetime Contingency Teams (FIG)
  • Reinforcement groups (IG)
  • Clean-up units (MRE)
  • Support Teams (STG)
  • Radiac measuring patrols (RAD)
  • Wartime reserve force (self protection)

In 2005 the Norwegian Civil Defence forces could call upon 50 000 men and women, distributed like this:

  • 3 000 personnel in Peacetime Contingency Teams (FIG), Clean-up units (MRE) and Radiac measuring patrols (RAD)
  • 12 000 personnel in Reinforcement groups (IG), Support Teams (STG), including the 3 000 mentioned above.
  • 50 000 personnel in wartime reserve force, including the 3 000 mentioned above.

Peacetime Contingency Teams (FIG)[edit]

The most active part of the Norwegian Civil defence. Each FIG contains 22 persons, one FIG leader and a second in command. The rest of the personnel are divided in two teams led by a team leader. The FIG personnel are to respond to a callout within one hour and there are 119 active teams in the country

Reinforcement groups (IG)[edit]

This is the bulk of the active personnel; an IG has 77 men and women and are generally divided into three troops when called out. The callout time for the reinforcement group is one to six hours and there are 87 active groups in peace time.

Clean-up units (MRE)[edit]

There are 15 clean-up units in the organization. Each group consists of 24 persons that are specially trained in dealing with people that has been exposed to chemical or biological agents.

The teams are equipped with a rapid deployable mobile decontamination unit that can be deployed at any site where chemical, biological or radioactive contamination had been detected.

Support Teams (STG)[edit]

The support team handles logistics when other groups are deployed for extended periods.

Radiac measuring patrols (RAD)[edit]

This is the smallest unit in the organization and consists of four personnel trained in measuring radioactivity. The unit measures background radiation at set locations and times for comparison. They are also trained in location radioactive materials.

There are 123 teams currently operating.



The Norwegian Civil Defence was first founded as the voluntary air protection (Det Frivillige Luftvern) in 1936. It was later renamed to the civil air protection (Det Sivile Luftvern). The primary task for the organization was to protect civilians in case of war. This is also evident in the law from 1953 (Lov om sivilforsvar) that still governs the organization. Even so the organization has adapted to the change in threats against civilians.

Currently drafts are being made for a new law that takes into account the national and international threats against civilians. The personnel are already being trained for and doing tasks that are more relevant for today’s situation. These tasks are related to supporting the other emergency services such as Police, fire brigade and health care when these institutions need reinforcements.

Typical tasks performed by the civil defence are:

  • Fighting bush fires.
  • Search and rescue.
  • Measuring background radiation.
  • Cleaning people that have been exposed to chemical or biological agents.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]