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ICPEM was formed on 1 January 2009 through a merger of the Institute of Civil Defence and Disaster Studies (ICDDS) and the Institute of Emergency Management (IEM).

Founded in 1938, as Europe approached World War II, and initially named the Air Raid Protection League, the Institute of Civil Defence (ICD) was formed. After the war the requirement became one of protection and survival in a nuclear age. This need for resilience after both natural and man-made crises led the ICD to add 'Disaster Studies' to its name some six years later to become the Institute of Civil Defence & Disaster Studies (ICDDS).  It was the United Kingdom’s oldest learned society wholly dedicated to international disaster studies & research, and had worldwide membership. 

The Institute of Emergency Management was incorporated in 1996 by professional emergency planners and managers. They recognised the need to research and improve the response to major incidents and their immediate and long-term coordinated management. In so doing it was also aware of the necessity of promoting the education and training of key members of the emergency services and others, including the public, in the essential skills to deal with civil emergencies.

Since its formation the IEM actively pressed for high standards of professional practice at national and local levels as well as exchanging ideas and publication of information internationally. As an Institute it was frequently been consulted for its professional views, comments and advice by the media, commercial, government and other bodies. The work continued in these respects and its members actively participated in conferences and seminars at international level on a wide range of subjects relevant to the management of major incidents.

In 2009 the two organisations recognised the synergy and overlap between them and merged to become the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. The heraldic symbols of both organisations similarly merged to form ICPEM's logo as we know it today.

As the international environment changed, so has civil protection, progressing through the principles of ‘Integrated Emergency Management’ to the current use of multi-disciplinary ‘capabilities’ and ‘resilience’ approaches. Planning to mitigate threats & consequences from any cause including natural and anthropogenic hazard events including terrorism, socio-technological catastrophe & system failure. The benefits of the merger remain the same today as they were at the time and included:

  • An improved package and offering for our members.

  • A greater say and influence in matters affecting civil protection at all levels.

  • Wider access to eminent sources of background information, experience, and knowledge.

  • Greater access to resources, thus strengthening the scope to generate conferences, study days, newsletters, periodicals, exercises, and briefings for the benefit of members and the profession as a whole.

  • Uniting both educators and professionals, to ensure that what is being taught is to the benefit of those in the field and those aspiring to take up work in the field.

We remain the oldest learned society wholly dedicated to international disaster science studies and research.

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