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Draft Disaster/Emergency Plan for the Qatar Civil Defence Department’s Response to Stadium Disaster Report

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Updated: Jul 18th, 2021


  • Accident: An incident with harmful consequences often associated with injury or fatality.
  • Assessment: The process of reviewing a situation in terms of positive and negative impacts on a project.
  • Capacity: Attributes, capabilities and resources within a project setting.
  • Contingent plan: The process of reviewing actual and potential scenarios of a project before and during implementation to identify potential bottlenecks for effective risk mitigation response.
  • Disaster/Hazard: An occurrence that has dangerous impacts on the project lifecycle or implementation.
  • Risk mitigation: The process of planning for strategies aimed at reversing or avoiding the potential impacts of a risk.
  • Risk preparedness: Specific plans in place to effectively handle potential hazards or risks in the course of a project.
  • Risk recovery: Adjustments or modifications in the project plan to ensure that hazards are handled effectively for a quick recovery.
  • Risk response: Availing assistance to persons affected by a disaster.


Irrespective of the size of a project, accidents or disasters are associated with negative impacts such as social, economic, and physical damages. Although such damages may have short or long term impacts, their consequences have a detrimental impact on the resources invested in such a project. Irrespective of the magnitude of a disaster, there is a need for a focused, systematic, and practical contingency plan to correct or intervene in a timely manner to reduce the resulting damages. A potential mitigation process should integrate a comprehensive intervention mechanism in the form of a disaster and emergency plan (McDonald 2015, 25).

This is necessary to proper preparedness to a disaster in order to guarantee a quick response and recovery process. In the 21st Century, organisations across the globe have laid down strategic plans for effective disaster response and avoidance. Most of these response activities are controlled and implemented by relevant private or government agencies with adequate and qualified personnel. For instance, the Qatar Civil Defence Department (QCDD) is a public institution mandated with the responsibility of creating a sustainable mechanism for fighting fire-related disasters. The department has put in place systems for detecting, protecting, and preventing fire disasters to ensure minimal damages.

Following the successful bid for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, QCDD has been nominated by the government to plan and avoid any stadium disaster during these games. This report presents a disaster/emergency plan for the Qatar Civil Defence Department to respond to a potential stadium disaster during the 2022 World Cup or any other game.

Aim& Objectives

The QCDD has been empowered by the government of Qatar as a public institution that manages and responds to major disaster incidences within its borders. In line with the successful bid by Qatar to host the 2020 Football World Cup, the QCDD’s mandate is restricted by the following guidelines;

  1. Full compliance with the DEMS regulations and existing policies in preparing for and responding to disasters.
  2. To reduce any Qatar government’s concerns and other worries that might be expressed by guests and other users through a systematic system evaluation and continuous review.
  3. To create an efficient, holistic and fully integrated strategy for addressing potential disaster incidences in order to streamline potential mitigation plans.
  4. Minimise the potential risks associated with these emergencies within the stadium and other related infrastructures such as training rooms/grounds, guests houses, and hotels.


The Qatar Civil Defence Department institution has been structured and organised into an effective centre for emergency avoidance and response. At present, the QCDD derives its functions and responsibilities from the Qatar’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act of 2002. The Qatar Civil Defence Department perform these roles as a segment of the Disaster and Emergency Management Systems (DEMS), which has a comprehensive guideline for emergency preparedness stages (Gotham & Greenberg 2014, 45).


The policy framework guiding the operational framework for the Qatar Civil Defence Department is defined by the role of property protection, users, spectators, and employees in the event of an emergency. This policy guideline is achieved by the QCDD through a continuous and systematic process of reviewing and practicing different safety drills and procedures. As a result, the institution has put in place stringent measures for managing potential disaster incidents in line with the DEMS efficiency response strategy. The policy statement is very dynamic and campaigns for sustainable, institutionalised, and authentic disaster preparedness plan that accommodates the interests of all stakeholders.

In order to effectively implement these policy frameworks, the Qatar Civil Defence Department has put in place systems for a multi-sector consultation approach in handling potential and actual disasters. The department has a state of art disaster monitor and response centre with the latest gadgets for detecting and handling any form of emergency. As required by the government act, the policy statement is should be subjected to reviews every two years and adjustments made on a need basis. As a government institution, the Qatar Civil Defence Department is fully committed to executing its duties and ensuring that Qatar is safe before, during, and after the 2022 World Cup.

Risk Assessment

An effective disaster mitigation strategy should be designed to be able to identify potential risks and put plans in place to minimise their impacts. An effective disaster response plan ensures that a disaster does not occur or have minimal negative consequences (Convitz 2016, 22). The Qatar Civil Defence Department has institutionalised the risk-based system in planning for emergency and other disasters. As a prerequisite for effective disaster management in the upcoming 2022 World Cup, there are plans in place to identify each potential risk that might result in a disaster. The outcome of these risk identification activities is then used to create mitigation guiltiness that are structured into strategies for responding to a potential emergency.

The risk identification module is focused on potential risks that have occurred or are likely to occur during the international event, the probability of the risks reoccurring, and severity of their impacts to all stakeholders and public or private property. Moreover, the risk identification plan seeks to establish the potential reputation damage in the event of a disaster or poor response.

On the basis of the risk identification chart, the Qatar Civil Defence Department has come up with the following risk mitigation framework. To begin with, the department has a list of all potential hazards that might arise in the process of the World Cup. This is followed by the grading of each potential hazard in terms of probability of occurrence and potential impacts. The results of such hazards are rated in terms of different categories of impacts such as physical, property, reputation, and financial damages. The probability of their impacts is then categories as adverse, unaffected, negligible, and permanent. The above assessment is then used to categorise these risks as low, moderate and high when prioritising for their mitigation.


Irrespective of the magnitude of impact, disasters or hazards have a varying scope and mitigation plans in place. The Qatar Civil Defence Department disaster preparedness plan is organised into four systematic and interdependent phases. These stages are Mitigation, Planning, Response and Recovery (Yamagata & Maruyama 2016, 67).

This means that the mitigation plan is achieved through the integration of these phases. In the mitigation phase, there are systems in place to give early warning alerts to residents and guests to allow an adequate timeline for evacuation from the disaster scene before major damages are realised. The Qatar Civil Defence Department will have to design systems and documentations to advise the local government on a specific design in the stadia to ensure quick evacuation or minimise potential harm during a disaster. For instance, automated sprinkler systems would substantially reduce the potential impacts of a fire-related disaster.

Moreover, wide and easily accessible exit gates would ensure that the human flow during an evacuation is effective to avoid fatal stampedes. In addition, the Qatar Civil Defence Department will have to roll out a public campaign on general awareness or what to do when a disaster happens. Therefore, this institution will have to establish a communication centre to give early warnings of a potential electrical fault, terrorist attack and structural failures in the stadia to minimise the potential impacts of these emergencies.

Response Priorities

An effective risk response framework prioritises the high risk areas for a faster and effective mitigation. Reviewing the high priority risks would ensure that their impacts are contained and controlled within a short time to reduce the potential damages or impacts (Yamagata & Maruyama 2016, 37). After handling the high risks, attention should then be focused on moderate then low risks. As captured in the Qatar Civil Defence Department’s risk response policy, there are plans in place to respond to each disaster on the basis of risk priority, which is starting with high then to medium and finalising with low risks as explained below.

High priority response: These responses are categorised under disasters with a higher probability of occurrence and are associated with a high magnitude of impacts to the upcoming international event.

Moderate priority response: Though not as high as the first category of risks, the response plans are given full attention to avoid the potential of these moderate risks escalating to high risks.

Low priority response: The events under this category are normal occurrences that can be effectively handled by persons on the ground when such disasters occur. For instance, an incident of minor heatwave can be handled by the fast aid personnel within the stadia. The impact of such incidences is low and might not demand excessive efforts from the Qatar Civil Defence Department.

In order to effectively handle the high, medium, and low priority risks, there is a need to focus the mitigation plans on saving the casualties and property. This means that an effective mitigation plan should be structured around reversing any negative impacts or minimising their consequences.


The Qatar Civil Defence Department is a government institution that has systematic hierarchy of control in management and execution of duties. Each department has specified roles for an effective service charter. The organisation structure adopts the inverted triangle approach characterised by a leaner management expanding towards the other employees. As captured in appendix 1, the organisational structure is effective in avoiding duplication of duties since there is a clear chain of command. Apparently, this organisation structure is organised into three chains of command. The first chain integrated the MOI. The second chain involves the civil defence, media and hospital. The final category of control incorporates ambulance services, linkway, traffic police, communication regulation authority, newspaper, and Qatar TV.

Roles & Responsibilities

The staff members of Qatar Civil Defence Department have specified roles and service charter in executing their duties of avoiding or responding to disasters. The chain of command provides job descriptions and skill sets that are necessary in an effective risk mitigation plan. The apex of this organisational structure is occupied by a Chief Officer, who is mandated with the duty of being in full command of any disaster incident.

At this management level, a mitigation plan is designed and introduced to ensure that emergency response approach in safe and effective to all stakeholders involved. This means that this office is the final decision-making organ in any disaster planning and response initiative. The department below the Chief Officer is the Company Officers. This group has the role of coordinating and supervising firemen and other emergency response personnel. Although also trained as firemen, this team offers supervisory roles. The third category in this organisation structure is the firemen department. The firefighters perform the operational tasks involved in handling the actual disaster at the scene of occurrences.

Command & Control

In the event of disaster occurrence, the Qatar Civil Defence Department will immediately dispatch a specific number of personnel (disaster response team, ambulance unit, incident commanders, police, and media) to the scene. This group will carry along adequate resources such as firefighting equipment, support vehicles, casualty ambulances and experts to the priority areas. The team is subjected to thorough drills for different disaster incidences such as heatwave, earthquake, sandstorm, fire and terrorist attack among others. The trained paramedics will be given an access to safe areas of the disaster to foster quick evacuation of the casualties.

The injuries will be given attention in the order of priority, that is, seriously injured are first evacuated. At the same time, the firemen and other categories of support personnel will descend on the incident scene to manage the disaster within the shortest time possible.


In the event of a disaster declaration, the emergency control centre will dispatch a message on the same to all departments to ensure that a joint effort is activated for a quick and effective response. At the same time, the communication unit will explain the intensity of the damage and likely magnitude for sufficient resources to be mobilised. The emergency control centre will then contact all hospitals and ambulance units within the incidence region to prepare them for a multispectral response. All other activities within the Qatar Civil Defence Department will be suspended in favour of a mitigation plan for the reported incident.


The Qatar Civil Defence Department has systems in place to ensure that all departments are summoned in the event of an emergency. Each department is expected to either give or take instructions from higher authority to avoid incidences of duplication of duties or internal conflicts. This means that the collaborative efforts are performed within the stipulated chain of command for optimal professionalism and efficiency.

Decision Making

The decision-making process is determined by the magnitude of the disaster incident. This means that incidents that are categorised as low priority will be handled by a leaner team as compared to high priority occurrence. This means that the Qatar Civil Defence Department has to incorporate ideas in line with the current chain of command to ensure that instructions issued have optimal outcomes in any disaster mitigation plan. The decision-making process adapts the inverted triangle approach, that is, from top management to the general employees.


All employees of the Qatar Civil Defence Department are subjected to periodic training and evaluation against preset Key Performance Indicators (KIP). The continuous evaluation is necessary to ensure that there is consistency in the level of service delivery and professionalism, irrespective of the magnitude of an incident. Depending on the roles and responsibilities of each department, the Qatar Civil Defence Department organises vocational training for all employees on first aid, casualty evacuation, safety, firefighting and other relevant skills. In addition, the department has partnered with public and private service providers to provide additional training on use of the modern emergency response equipment such as fire engines.


The response system is organised into a disaster cycle that accommodates different phases. This means that a response strategy is depending on the incident mitigation phase (Waugh 2015, 56). Through a private-public partnership with the locals, the Qatar Civil Defence Department has encouraged all stakeholders to give information on any incident that might turn into a disaster through a toll-free hotline. Upon receiving such notification, the Qatar Civil Defence Department activates the response alert to all the departments as it anticipates the correct response mechanism. The response team is quickly mobilised against adequate resources, depending on the magnitude of the incident.

After confirming the location and potential impact, the team is quickly deployed to the incident scene. Another team is mobilised to standby in hospitals and other related areas. The department has enough personnel and may recruit volunteers to ensure that any emergency response is handled within the shortest time possible, often in 24 hours.

The first role under the response phase upon reaching the incident scene is the search and rescue of casualties. However, aspects of safety and professionalism must be adhered to during the search and rescue. For instance, high magnitude disasters such as terrorism attack would involve a multi-agency cooperation to minimise any potential danger to the casualties (Paton & Johnston 2017, 67). The Qatar Civil Defence Department might make arrangements for extra personnel from other public or private organisations on a need basis. Recruiting external support and resources might be necessary for avoiding fruitless struggles associated with inadequate personnel.

The second phase is evacuation of the casualties. This should be done while prioritising the extent of injuries. For instance, casualties with multiple and serious injuries should be given the first priority in transportation to the hospital and treatment. Casualties with minor bruises may be given first aid and released to seek further medical services on their own. Qatar Civil Defence Department has put plans in place to secure adequate ambulance services during the 2022 World Cup through collaboration with other government and private institutions. For instance, QCDD might partner with other international emergency response organisations such as the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance and the United Nations.

The last stage under response is the recovery phase. This process commences with reconstruction of the incident and what could have been done to prevent it or minimise any identified setbacks in the future (Cary 2017, 19). The reconstruction process involves consultative meetings with all the stakeholders to boost the level of preparedness for a similar incident in the future. The sensitisation efforts should be systematic and focused on specific needs to avoid confusion in any future emergency response plan.

Notification & Activation

The process of activation will be dependent on the disaster alert. This means that a prompt notification would facilitate effective preparation and quick response.


Activities and roles of all personnel involved in disaster mitigation will abide by the initial plan. Any change of plan will be communicated. The department will mobilise other support agencies on a need basis.


The disaster response team must adhere to the present organisational policy framework in executing duties.


Any communication to the public will be undertaken through the public and social media. This is necessary to avoid speculation or hyping of the incident.


The recovery process will commence with resource mobilisation to ensure that normalcy is restored. The victims will be transferred for specialist treatment and collapsed structured cleared to give room for investigations. Moreover, a public awareness campaign will be organised to inform the public on safety measures. The department will then perform a risk assessment to minimise the impact of a similar incident in the future.

Investigation & Inquiry

Information about the incident will be extracted from the survivors through interviews. This means that evidence will be collected from the scene. Since such an incident will be an international disaster, information sharing within the global intelligence community will be necessary.


Disaster response evaluation will be carried out on the basis of efficiency, effectiveness and impact. The efficiency aspect will review the outputs against inputs allocated to tackle the incident. Effectiveness will track the success level in handling the incident while impact will examine the usefulness of the mitigation strategy.

Audit & Review

QCDD will perform a quality planning audit of resources used and outcome to measure the level of efficiency and effectiveness. The audit will be carried out periodically for systematic improvements on a need basis. The results of such audits should be incorporated in the existing contingency plans for effective disaster response (Barlow 2014, 229).


Qatar Civil Defence Department’s organisational structure.
Appendix 1: Figure 1: Qatar Civil Defence Department’s organisational structure.


Barlow, JF 2014, ‘Progress in observing and modelling the urban boundary layer’, Urban Climate, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 216-240.

Cary, J 2017, Design for good: a new era of architecture for everyone, Island Press, New York, NY.

Gotham, KF & Greenberg, M 2014, Disaster and redevelopment in New York and New Orleans, Oxford University Press, New York, NY.

Konvitz, JW 2016, Cities and crisis, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

McDonald, RI 2015, Conservation for cities: how to plan & build natural infrastructure Island Press, London.

Paton, D & Johnston, D 2017 Disaster resilience: an integrated approach Charles C Thomas Publisher, London.

Waugh, WL 2015, Living with hazards, dealing with disasters: an introduction to emergency management: an introduction to emergency management, Routledge, London.

Yamagata, Y & Maruyama, H 2016, Urban resilience: a transformative approach, Springer International Publishing, Alabama.

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