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Emergency risk assessment: the Estonian approach

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Abstract:

Although risk assessment in the field of civil protection is a vital element of emergency and disaster prevention, EU policy directives do not promote a common methodological approach for evaluating the performance of emergency risk assessments (EmRAs). Consequently, new member states have based the development of their national risk assessment systems on examples from the EU-15 member states and elsewhere. The latest important trend in the EU is the construction of unified guidelines on risk assessment and mapping for disaster management. This paper explores the developments in and problems of the risk assessment of emergency situations in post-Soviet Estonia. In the 1990s, the requirements for EmRA in Estonia were vague; only since 1998 has the Chemicals Act established more concrete requirements for hazardous industrial plants. Entry into the EU required Estonia to abide by and implement EU regulations. The primary aim of the current study was to conduct a survey on the development of Estonian EmRA since the restitution of Estonia as an independent state (1991). A secondary aim was to examine the impact of guidelines from other states and international institutions on the process of developing Estonia’s regulations. Although this study emphasises the success of the key stages in the developmental process of Estonia’s EmRA system, it also demonstrates the need for further improvement of the system’s legal and methodological basis, as well as the practical arrangement of EmRA. The problems and solutions of EmRA in Estonia have common features with those in other EU member states, and therefore more cooperation inside the Union is recommended.

Keywords: assessment; civil protection; crisis management; emergency; hazard; legislation; risk; standards

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2012.726237

Affiliations: 1: Rescue College, Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, Tallinn, Estonia 2: Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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