Croatia has a population of almost 4.5 million people, the country is divided into 20 counties (županija), plus the city district of Zagreb, the capital.
Heads of the administrative units are elected by the people. They are responsible for organization, planning, financing and use of protection and rescue operational forces within the competence of local self-government.
According to the Croatian constitution, and on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity, municipalities and towns have responsibilities for fire-fighting and Civil Protection through a system of locally-based public fire brigades and volunteer fire brigades.
Civil protection is organized at all levels, from local communities to the state, as a reserve operational force of a single protection and rescue system. It consists of personal and mutual protection, command, units, commissioners and shelter managers. Establishment, development (equipping and training) and the engagement of civil protection is the responsibility of the heads of local and regional self-government units, and the director of the National Protection and Rescue Directorate (in national language: DUZS) at national level.