Civil Protection Department



The Fire Section within the Malta Police Corps was set up in 1934. In April 1936, it started making use of the first ever fire engine at its disposal. For many years the responsibility for Fire Services was in the hands of the British services in Malta. In 1883 the Malta Police were given some fire fighting apparatus (hoses, pumps, etc.) for fighting small fires which used to occur throughout the island. In 1902, Members of the Police Corps were trained by Water Works Department personnel in fighting fires, although the responsibility remained with the British services in Malta. In 1922, the Police were responsible for keeping the public order during fires, keeping the people as far as possible from the danger,and helping in laying of hoses, carraige of pumps and ladders.

The first fire engines were water pumps fitted on steam vehicles. There were also fire hydrants in many places and police stations. In fact one still comes over white notices fixed on walls with red letters: F.H.


A fire hydrant point in Valletta

On 26 November 1934, by a notice in the Government Gazette, a new procedure was published classifying fires into three categories and how to treat these cases. In case of small fires, these were to be extinguished by means of water buckets and fire extinguishers, which were stored in Police stations. In case of major fires, the fire engine is to be called out. The third category was calling the help of the British military services in Malta. Since up to the year 1934 the Malta police had no fire engine of their own, the military was called out in the second and third categories of fire.

At the same time, the Police Corps organised the fire section with a small group of policemen and these firemen used to wear a uniform.

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The first police fire engine was only used for small fires and in the Valletta area only. Businesses who were affected by fires, used to pay for the services of the British Military Fire Services.

The Police started to acquire trucks to be re-modelled and used as Water Bowsers, since purchasing a proper fire engine costed money, which the police budget didn’t have. They even purchased second hand fire engines from the UK to be used in Malta for fire fighting purposes. Such engines were the Dennis type which were used regularly in our island. Trucks used were the Ford type. Other used fire engines were acquired from the UK, such as Dodge, Bedfords, Dennis and Land Rovers.

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Then the Police took the decision to purchase a lot of Bedford Fire Engines from England to be distributed throughout the outlaying stations, which were at that time, in Floriana, and at Kordin. Kordin was used by the British Forces in Malta, for the Admirality Constabulary Fire Brigade, since it was very near the Malta dockyards. In fact all the units stationed in this Station were left to the Malta Police when the British Forces ended their stay in Malta in 1979. The Kordin Station was handed three Bedford Fire Engines, while the Police Garage at Floriana had the following resources:

A Dennis Fire engine,
2 Ford water bowsers,
1 Land Rover,
1 Mini Countryman van.

The Police tried to keep abreast of events for any eventual disasters, by purchasing vehicles and equipment or even acquiring through the Italy-Malta Financial Protocols, 6 new Fresia Fire engines.


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The main scope of the Civil Protection Department is to safeguard human lives, property and the environment. The Department is established under the relevant legislative act (Civil Protection Act XV, 1999) to maintain a national system of prevention, preparedness and response to any Disaster which might affect the Maltese community. The Department also forms part of a European wide mechanism for Civil Protection, which was formed to ensure a common response to emergencies by all EU member states.


In 1999 The Malta Police Fire Brigade was 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.

Setting up of a Maritime Operations Unit

A Section within the CPD capable of catering for accidents at sea which mainly includes:

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

Civil Protection Headquarters

A site was  identified for the Maltese Operations centre for the Civil Protection Department in the former 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:

a)  permitting identification of potential hazards
b)  the development of emergency plans
c)  training of personnel
d)  setting up of a resources database
e)  identifying fire risks
f)   compilation of a geographic information system
g)  the gathering of emergency procedures for specific instructions
h)  the production of useful information for decision making.

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 were engaged as Assistant Fire and Rescue officers. Former Police fire brigade personnel were 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.

Heads of the Civil Protection Department

Joe Micallef
1999 – 2000

2014-06-21 12.11.10 Peter Cordina
2000 – 2010

2014-06-21 12.11.45 Patrick Murgo
2010 – 2013

2014-06-21 12.12.52 John Rizzo
2013 –


Operations Centre – HQ

Ta’ Kandja l/o Siġġiewi, Siġġiewi
The Civil Protection Department is using Ta’ Kandja Centre as an operations centre and Headquarters. Furthermore, the Department has a Marine Unit berthed at Marsa, but in the summer months one of the ships (the M/V Garibaldi) is moored at Xemxija Bay.

Ħal-Far Fire Station

B’Buġia Rd, Ħal Far

Hal Far

This station is housed in what was formerly the Control Tower of Hal Far Airport, which was administered by the British services in Malta, namely the Royal Air Force.

In fact it also had a Fire Station at the entrance of this airbase. which was equipped with Thornycroft Nubian Fire Engines and Crash Tenders.

Fire Appliances at the Station:

IVECO Magirus – Bull Industrial Fire Engine

IVECO Magirus – Heavy Rescue Unit

IVECO Magirus – Falcon Fire Engine

IVECO Magirus – Control Unit

IVECO Magirus – Ranger Bowser Engine



Floriana Fire Station

Notre Dame Ditch, Floriana

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This station has been returned back to the Police Corps. Only one fire engine remains at this station. The Civil Protection Department has transferred all its equipment to the other stations.

Xemxija Fire Station

Xemxija Heights, Xemxija


This fire station is situated in an ideal position to cater for emergencies in the north sector of Malta. The site on which is situated was formerly the BP installation at Xemxija.

This station saw major reconstruction. A new garage was built in order to accomodate all the equipment available at the station for any emergency.

Fire Appliances at the Station.

IVECO Magirus – RV4 (Rescue Vehicle)

IVECO Magirus – Falcon Fire Engine

IVECO Magirus – Ranger Water Tanker

IVECO Magirus – Scout FLF 1200 Multi-Role Tender

IVECO Magirus – TLF 16/25 Euro Fire Engine

IVECO Magirus – Turntable Ladder 24m

LEYLAND DAF – Snorkel Hydraulic Platform

FRESIA – Multi-role Water Bowser

SKODA – saloon car

Kordin Fire Station

Kordin Industrial  Estate Paola


This station previously used to house the Admirality Police Fire Brigade, during the British presence in Malta prior to 1979. After 1979, this property was passed on to the Malta Police Fire Brigade.

The Civil Portection Department (Dipartiment ghall-Protezzjoni Civili) formerly The Malta Police Fire Brigade, is responsible for fire fighting operations and civil defence; and has its HQs at Ta’ Kandja Operations Centre.

Fire Appliances at the Station.

IVECO Magirus – Scout Multi-role Tender

IVECO Magirus – Falcon Fire Tender

IVECO Magirus – RV4 Rescue Vehicle

IVECO Magirus – Ranger Water Tanker

IVECO Magirus – Bull Industrial Tender

FRESIA – Multi-role Fire Engine

SKODA – Saloon Car

Gozo Fire Station

Gozo Heliport, Ta’ Lambert, Għajnsielem Rd, Xewkija

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This station previously was located at the Police Garage in Victoria Gozo. In 2006, this Station was transferred to the Gozo Heliport Fire Station in Xewkija Gozo, where it assumes the dual role of Civil Protection as well as Crash and Rescue for the Heliport.

In fact the station had to undergo some reconstruction in order to accomodate more than the usual two fire engines. Now it has to accomodate more specialised vehicles.

Fire Appliances at the Station.

IVECO Magirus – RV4 (Rescue Vehicle)

IVECO Magirus – Falcon Fire Engine

IVECO Magirus – Ranger Water Bowser

IVECO Magirus – Turntable Ladder 24m

FRESIA – Multi role Fire Engine

Marine Section

Moll is-Shipwrights, Marsa

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The Marine Unit of the Civil Protection Department is presently berthed at Marsa.

This Unit works in conjunction with the AFM Maritime Squadron. In fact, the two SAR Boats, Melita I and Melita II have been handed over by the Civil Protection Department to the Maritime Squadron, since the AFM have the SAR Operations Unit and together they co-ordinate search and rescue operations in Maltese territorial waters by air and seacraft.

Many SAR operations were carried out by the Maritime Squadron of the AFM, under the auspices of the Civil Protection Department. During the summer months, patrols by the said sea craft, Melita I and Melita II, were undertaken by the AFM. The CPD also stationed the MV Garibaldi Fire Fighting vessel at Xemxija (in St. Paul’s Bay) for any assistance it may give to boat enthusiasts. Such a move enables this vessel to reach boats on fire in the northern parts of the Maltese Islands very quickly and efficiently.

Fire Fighting Vessels at the Maritime Unit.

The Maritime Unit of the Civil Protection Department has its berth at Marsa. This Unit consists of the following vessels, namely:

2 – Search and Rescue Motor Boats:
(Melita I) – (Melita II)
These two units were transferred to the AFM Maritime SAR Unit and are manned by AFM personnel.

The building contract was awarded to Cantiere Navale Vittoria, Adria. These two boats were delivered to the department on 10th August 1998 and were moored near St. Angelo in Dockyard Creek. Special equipment to be installed on board together with spare parts and other equipment was separately shipped and delivered in August and is now placed at the CPD building at Hal Far. These two SAR boats were later passed on to the Armed Forces of Malta to be used for the Search and Rescue unit of the Maritime Squadron. They are presently in constant operation with the AFM.

These boats, which are self-righting, and could withstand heavy weather, are about 13m long and can develop a speed of about 33 knots. These are a modified and upgraded version of the twelve boats already built for the Italian Coast Guards and are also equipped at our request with a small fire-fighting pump to extinguish fires on speed boats, cabin cruisers and small yachts, which are a common occurrence during the summer season. An elevated deck for increased visual range with connecting controls was also built at our request.

1 – Multi-purpose fire-fighting and oil pollution control tug:
(M/V SEA SALVOR) – On loan with TUG MALTA at the Malta Freeport.

The building contract for this tug was awarded to CN Ferrari, La Spezia on 29th August. This boat which is made of steel construction is about 30m long, 10 m wide, and has a draft of about 5m. The propulsion system of this boat is non-conventional called tractor Z-drives for high manoeuvrability, and is powered by two diesel engines developing a power of about 4500 brake horse power. This tug is expected to develop a maximum bollard pull of about 55 tons, which is a good pull for harbour towage of large vessels and also for offshore towage of standard vessels.

The main propulsion engines also drive two large fire-fighting pumps capable of throwing a horizontal water jet of about 120 metres long. In addition, there are two foam tanks having a total capacity of about 10 cubic metres.

This tug also has the capability of laying oil booms and recovery of oil from the sea in the event of an oil spill of a certain magnitude. Oil dispersing booms and chemical-dispersing tanks also forms part of the anti-pollution equipment, which can be used if necessary.

For communication and navigation, the tug is equipped for ocean going and unrestricted service having the latest state-of-the-art radio and navigation equipment, including a Global Maritime Distress Safety System for communication through satellite and shore stations, including telex communication and anti-collision warning system.

The engine room is equally equipped with advanced state-of the art equipment to protect the sea environment against pollution by oil and sewage. Included in the accommodation is a sick bay to give first-aid assistance to any injured person on the spot. The accommodation is designed and equipped for weeks of endurance. The tug was launched on 11th July 1998.

The tug is equipped to perform and provide the following services:

Fire-fighting of large vessels and oil terminals
Oil dispersing and oil recovery from oil pollution. Services for containment of oil slicks by floating booms can also be provided.
Harbour towage
Offshore towage/salvage of disabled vessel in distress
Salvage/diving operations capable of plugging and de-water breached compartments of vessels
Survey of underwater part of ship’s hull while afloat
Conveyance of ship’s personnel, stores and spare parts, to and from vessel’s offshore Malta.

1 – Fire Fighting/Patrol Vessel:

This boat which is made of light alloy aluminium construction, (similar to that of the SAR boats) is about 22m long and is expected to have a maximum speed of about 22 knots.

The primary role of this boat is for quick and prompt intervention of fire fighting of medium size yachts up to large passenger ships, tankers and also for the fighting of oil/petroleum terminals. It is also designed to combat oil pollution of significant quantities and can also lay booms. The boat can also assist in the salvage operation of stranded/grounded vessels.

The hull is considered to be of good quality workmanship while the main equipment is of renowned European suppliers in the marine field.

The Maltese government named this ship after the Italian statesman Giuseppe Garibaldi, as a sign of appreciation for the Italians to finance the construction of this boat as a part of the Fourth financial protocol.

The ship was constructed at the Vittoria shipyards, which are authorised suppliers of The Italian Navy, the Merchant-Marine Coastguard, The Ministry of the Interior, The Ministry of Transport and Navigation, the Customs Service, and the Ministry of Public Works.

The building contract was signed on 28th August 1997 at a cost of Lm 1,193,000.

Humanitarian Aid Section

Moll is-Shipwrights, Marsa


K9 – Dogs Section

Ta’ Kandja l/o Siġġiewi, Siġġiewi

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Volunteers Section

B’Buġia Rd, Ħal Far

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