The legislation covering disaster management in Albania reflects the fast-moving processes which are transforming the centralized structures of the sector into an essentially decentralized scheme based on a network of local decision-centres. To appreciate the dynamic behind these processes of change it is useful to examine briefly the recent historical context.
The Civil Defence Service, under the Ministry of Interior, was established in 1964 and evolved into a system of six subservices (Air Alert, Sheltering, Evacuation, Anti-Chemical Protection, Planning and Controlling of Bomb-Shelter Constructing Works, and Fire-Fighting) and four different operational forces (Nuclear Bacteriological Chemical Protection Teams, Rescue Teams − in different enterprises and plants − Fire-Fighting Stations, and Armed Forces). Although the original tasks of the Civil Defence Service were essentially the protection of civilians during invasions or wars, its remit also included the organisation of first-response operations following disasters caused by natural hazards orindustrial incidents.
In response to the new challenges the institutional role of the Civil Defence Service was twice changed, firstly by moving it from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Local Autonomies and subsequently, in 2005, to the Ministry of Interior.
Law 8756, in March 2001, was the first move towards the establishment of a more modern Civil Protection system faced with new and more complex challenges and operational requirements.