Tabletop exercise – Croatia

Tabletop training exercise: Earthquake response during the COVID-19 pandemic

Location: Rijeka region, Croatia

Target audience: Fire fighter service, Red Cross and specialists in civil protection from Croatia


  • Inform the participants about the benefits of using modern geospatial and information system in large scale events
  • Increased situational awareness by integration of available information from different sources
  • Enhance real time capabilities and information interoperability
  • Increased efficiency of operations by rational and cost-effective resource deployment and joint emergency services interoperability
  • Evaluation of existing operational procedures and development of further recommendations

Tabletop training exercise

Tabletop training exercises are disaster preparedness activities that test hypothetical situations of disaster events and evaluate participants’ readiness to respond and their ability to work together. The selected scenario for this training exercise is: “Earthquake response during the COVID-19 pandemic”. COncORDE emergency management platform will be used for incident management during the exercise.It is expected that the tabletop training exercise to be completed over the course of 8 hours.

Narrative of the emergency scenario (The hypothetical storyline)

A magnitude M6.2 earthquake struck Sisak-Moslavina County with an epicenter 3 km southwest of the town of Petrinja on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at 12:19 PM CET. The maximum intensity of feelings was estimated at from VIII. (very harmful) to IX. (devastating) degree on the European macroseismic scale. This event was preceded by three major earthquakes, the strongest of which was of magnitude M5.2. This was followed by a series of several hundred earthquakes, the strongest of which had a magnitude of 5.0 on the Richter scale. Seven people were killed, five of them in Majske Poljane when the family house collapsed, and the rest in Žažina and Petrinja. The quake was felt not only in the whole of Croatia, but also in parts of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Serbia. The first reports showed that many buildings in Petrinja were destroyed. The epicenter was reported in Strašnik. The depth of the earthquake was 10 km. Due to power outages and interruptions in telecommunications, sporadic information is arriving from the field about victims and huge material damage to residential buildings, educational institutions (kindergartens, schools and colleges), cultural and religious facilities.

The entire city center of Petrinja has suffered significant damage, and according to initial estimates, a large number of apartments are unusable for further housing.Five schools are unusable and nine are badly damaged.City Hall has been declared dysfunctional.

The Sisak General Hospital suffered some damage, but despite the earthquake, it continued to operate, except for the children’s ward, which was closed due to cracked walls.

No damage was recorded at the industrial plants (Gavrilović, Sisak Refinery).

The earthquake caused several fires.

In one kindergarten, the ceiling collapsed and the outside staircase separated.

Due to the subsequent shaking of the ground, it is feared that further damage to the already cracked walls could further damage buildings and endanger people’s safety due to collapsing structures, falling off parts of facades and plaster and collapsing chimneys, which causes people to sleep in cars in front of houses.A large number of the affected population lives in rural areas and does not want to leave their livestock and their properties.

The earthquake caused extensive damage to three apartment buildings in downtown Zapresic, built in the 1960s.20th century, from which more than 100 families were evicted, fortunately, there were no casualties or injuries.

The Krško nuclear power plant was automatically closed, after which will be systematically inspected.Session of the Croatian and Slovenian parliaments adjourned. Due to the magnitude of the earthquake, the soil in some parts of the affected area shifted up to 44 cm, the wider area of Petrinja rose more than 12 cm, while on the opposite side of the fault there was a deterioration of soil in the amount of 7 cm.soil – cracks, landslides, landslides and liquefaction.As a result of deformations in the ground, roads, bridges and embankments were damaged/cracked, especially the Brest Bridge over the Kupa River, the embankment in the village of Palanjek, the embankment along the Petrinjčica River and the old Sisak bridge.The earthquake occurred during lockdown – passes are issued to go outside the area of residence.


– local / regional         

– activation of all emergency services         

– part of the population was evacuated and tents with food and water were set up         

– national response         

– activation of CP operational forces (OSCZ) from the entire territory of the country         

– firefighters         

– Red Cross         

– Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (CMRC)     

– Civil Protection         

– Civil Engineers        

– activation of the Civil Protection Mechanism         

– self-organization (citizens / companies / organizations)         

– members of fan groups joined in cleaning the ruins in Petrinja, Sisak and the surrounding affected areas and collecting supplies         

– retail chains         

– humanitarian organizations (Caritas)         


AMP – Advance Medical Post

ETS – Emergency Temporary Shelters

FRUB – Flood Rescue Using Boats

HCP – High Capacity Pumps

HMP – Ambulance

MEDEVAC – Medi cal Evacuation (by Air)

TAST – Technical Assistance and Support Team

USAR – Urban Search and Rescue

Scenario elements:

1. EARTHQUAKE during an epidemic (lockdown) / civil protection measures that apply (emergency phase):

a) search and rescue from ruins [USAR, HMP]

=> testing a plan of selective mobilization and engagement of dedicated operational forces (specialist fire brigades, CP, CMRS …);

b) Evacuation and Temporary Shelters – medical and other necessary care (COVID patients, population, livestock, cold and snow – Cold Conditions Manual …)

[AMP, MEDEVAC, ETS,, veterinary service]

2. ACCIDENT WITH DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE – damaged area of ​​the radiology clinic

a) Sampling / detection / decontamination [CBRN module]

b) search and rescue in CBRN conditions

3. establishment of communication

a) o securing logistics routes (damaged bridge, congested roads)


b) damaged communication system – establishment of radio communication between services

c) damaged embankment – flooding of settlements and roads [FRUB, HCP]

4. inter-service coordination = TTX

a) Staff training – 10 persons / services

b) information gathering, analysis, dissemination [drones]

c) ICT support, GIS platforms [TAST]

d) public relations (SimPress)

Figure 1- Coordinated incident management process for multiple organizations (ISO 22320: 2018 Security and resilience – Emergency management)