The Malta Police Fire Brigade has been transferred to the newly established Civil Protection Department (Dipartiment ghall-Protezzjoni Civili). This was part of the reform of the Malta Police Corps, under which reform, all work connected with rescue and fire-fighting, undertaken by the Malta Police Fire Brigade was transferred to the Civil Protection Department. The Civil Protection Act was approved by the House of Representatives.



The Civil Protection Directorate was constituted on the 9th February 1989, under the Ministry of Justice and the Interior. It was composed of all the Heads of Government Departments and Agencies, such as the Police, the Armed Forces, Works Department, Enemalta Corporation, Health Department, etc. It started its work from its temporary quarters at Fort St. Elmo, in Valletta.

In 1995 this Directorate was upgraded to a Government Department: the Civil Protection Department. This Department is responsible for the organisation of training courses and exercises for the civil population by simulating different disaster situations and those problems which can arise in such situations.

One of the main objectives of this Department is the organisation of civil defence services by coordinating the capabilities and resources available to other Ministries and Department such as the Police, Armed Forces and the Health Authorities and to organise training courses and exercises in fire fighting, basic rescue and first aid.

In the plan for the establishment of the Department, the growth of this Department was proposed in two stages:

Stage One of the plan - envisaged the creation of the Department as a small organisational unit to coordinate the various risk services available in the country, to formulate emergency plans, in a central and convenient location in the Island, to carry out regular training courses in civil protection, and to establish a stock-piling depot for emergency services.

Stage Two of the plan - envisaged the hiving off from the Police of the Fire Brigade services and the transfer of such duties and functions to the Civil Protection Department with the eventual aim of gradually changing it into a Fire and Rescue Unit. This proposal has been under consideration for a long time.

Following the Agreement of March 1994, between Malta and Italy on Cooperation for the Forecasting, Prevention and Mitigation of Natural and Technological Disasters, a consortium was formed between two Italian companies, leaders in marine antipolution activities and environmental services. A detailed project, including an economic proposal was drawn up by this consortium for the realisation of a system of Civil Protection for Malta. A contract of agreement was signed on 26th May 1995 between the Maltese Ministry for Home Affairs and the Consortium as a result of which the Consortium agreed to design and supply a Malta Civil Protection Master Plan to the Government of Malta by the end of July 1996.

The Consortium immediately embarked on a data and fact finding exercise from Maltese Government department, parastatal and private organisations.

During a meeting held between the Maltese Ministry for Home Affairs and the Italian Ministry of the Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, a number of projects were identified as areas of primary interest in civil protection where the two contracting parties could establish closer cooperation. It was agreed that the projects would be submitted as proposals for financing under the accords governing the Italo-Maltese Financial Protocols. The projects in order of priority were the following:

a) Creation of a Fire and Rescue Unit
b) Warehouse and equipment
c) Public information and preparedness
d) Local emergency centres.

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Setting up of a Maritime Operations Unit

Plans have been drawn up for a proposed structure aimed at creating an organisation capable of catering for accidents at sea which will mainly include:

a) management of oil spills
b) a marine fire fighting unit
c) a life boat rescue system.

Civil Protection Headquarters

A site has been identified for the Maltese Operations centre for the Civil Protection Department in the SAG complex at Ta' Kandja. The main aim for such centre is to co-ordinate assistance in land and sea disasters. Such a Centre aims at:

The equipment in the Operations Centre is compatable with the Italian systems of Civil Protection thus offering the advantage of bilateral assistance in case of emergencies should this be so required.

A new fire station at Xemxija in St. Paul's Bay was inaugurated during 1996 to cater for the north side of the Maltese Islands.

The former International Fire and Safety Training School complex at Hal Far was acquired by the Civil Protection Department with the objective of:

a) having a new fire station to cater for the south side of Malta
b) a Centre for Civil Protection Courses
c) protected Headquarters to be established as a national depot of stocks for disaster preparedness and disaster relief services.

The Malta Police Fire Brigade was officially transferred to this Department in late 1999. New fire engines were acquired under the Italo-Maltese Financial Protocols.

The first new fire engines received in 1996 by this unit were:

2 Large Magirus Iveco Fire Engines
1 Small Magirus Iveco Rapid Intervention Vehicle.

Other Iveco vehicles were consigned during 1997, namely:

1 Turn-table ladder costing Lm191,000
1 On-site control Unit costing Lm32,000
6 Compact Tank Pumpers costing Lm238,000

Another Iveco EuroCity 2000 Fire Engine was added to the fleet at the end of the year 2000. This tender was required to drive through the narrow streets of the capital city.

There are four fire stations in Malta and one in Gozo. These stations are located at Floriana (Police Garage), Kordin, Xemxija, and Hal Far; and one at Victoria in Gozo. Plans are in hand for the refurbishment of the Xemxija and Kordin Stations.

The Civil Protection Department is using Ta' Kandja as an Operations Centre. It is intended to open another fire station somewhere in the centre south of Malta (Santa Venera). Furthermore, the Civil Protection Department has a Marine Unit located at Marsa. During the summer months this unit is located at Xemxija, near the most popular beaches frequented by Maltese and tourist bathers.


The first Director to be appointed as Head of the C.P.D. was Mr Joe Micallef. New recruits have been engaged as Assistant Fire and Rescue officers. Former Police fire brigade personnel have been transferred to this Department to train newly engaged officers in firefighting and rescue operations.

Mr Peter Cordina, a former Police officer became the second Director for Civil Protection.

Mr Patrick Murgo, who was the Head of the MIA fire services succeeded Mr Peter Cordina as the third Director for Civil Protection.

Former Police Commissioner John Rizzo was in April 2013 appointed Director of the Civil Protection Department, taking over from Mr. Patrick Murgo.


In 2014 the Civil Protection Department decided to renew its fleet of fire engines with new ones. At present part of the CPD fleet is in a bad state that some of the fire engines would not pass their VRT test. In fact three fire engines in very good condition were purchased from the U.K. These were acquired with the assistance of Captain Reuben Lanfranco, a maritime consultant and marine surveyor who was instrumental in obtaining these three fire engines from the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service in UK.

The three fire engines - Leyland DAF 55 series 230 - are fully equipped and suitable for Maltese roads, and come with brand new ladders. They have already been inspected and green-lit by a high-ranking officer from the CPD.

At Merseyside where they were inspected once more and given a full service. From there they were transported to Southampton and put on a cargo ship that sailed to Malta, and arrived on Monday 20th June 2014. Another new Iveco fire pumper was acquired. This was the first new appliance which will be utilised for small field fires.


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