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National contingency plans

A disaster exercise
There is a general emergency plan at a national level, as well as various special emergency plans.

General emergency plan.

The general emergency plan at a national level were laid down in the Royal Decree of 31 January 2003. This emergency plan describes the major principles for the co-ordination and management of an emergency at a national level.

Special national emergency plans

Further arrangements are needed for some particular risks. These are supplements to or deviations from the general emergency plan, which ensure that there can be a better response to this risk. These arrangements have been laid down in a special national emergency plan. Some examples:

Nuclear and radiological emergency plan for the Belgian territory

Since 1991, Belgium has had a national emergency plan for the management of nuclear and radiological accidents (Royal Decree 01/03/2018). The nuclear emergency plan describes, among other things:

  • The missions and responsibilities of all parties involved
  • The general organisation of the crisis management
  • Emergency planning zones and intervention areas
  • Protective measures for people and the environment
  • Different phases in the complex crisis management of a nuclear incident

National emergency plan on how to deal with a terrorist hostage-taking or attack

The National Emergency Plan on Terrorism (Royal Decree 18/05/2020) aims to ensure organised co-ordination during a terrorist emergency. The emergency plan handles important aspects for crisis management in the event of a terrorist attack, for example:

  • Pre-alarm and alarm phases
  • Organisation and composition of crisis units
  • Interaction between the units and the National Security Council
  • Organisation of exercises.

For security reasons, the content of the emergency plan is not public.

CBRN(e) emergency plan

The national emergency plan (Royal Decree 19/06/2018) for dealing with a criminal incident or terrorist attack involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents (CBRNe) defines the cooperation during a CBRNe incident. For security reasons, the content of the emergency plan is not public.

Cyber emergency plan

To manage cyber security incidents and crises on a national level, there is the national cyber emergency plan. To this end, the NCCN works together with the Centre for Cyber Security Belgium and various other government partners. This allows all of these partners to work together in a coordinated manner to protect our country's vital sectors from cyber attacks. For security reasons, the content of the emergency plan is not public.

Organisation of exercises

The NCCN holds exercises on each national emergency plan regularly. For example, at least one exercise on the nuclear emergency plan will be held per year.