Proposal:Emergency=disaster response

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Proposal status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: Polarbear
Tagging: emergency=disaster_response
Applies to:
Definition: A station of an agency providing emergency response for civilians during or after a disaster (natural or anthropogenic).

Draft started: 2020-12-29


Establish emergency=disaster_response as worldwide consistent tagging of disaster response services under the emergency=* key.

Migrate from tags

  • that work in one nation only, like (emergency=ses_station (189x) from Australia, the tag is problematic for worldwide use, since it takes a country-specific acronym that is not self-explanatory and not understood elsewhere
  • or do not use the emergency key, like amenity=emergency_service (800x) + emergency_service=technical (822x), predominantly used in Germany for THW, and a dozen mis-tagged hospitals around the word.


There is some inconsistency how disaster response services are mapped in various countries. While disaster response is organised differently in different countrys there are similar organisations in different countrys that do not have a unifed tagging scheme right now.

Some discussion happened on mailing lists, discussion pages of the tags mentioned above and in the community forum. See External Discussion for links to these discussions. Summary:

Stations of State Emergency Services, Civil Protection, or Civil Defense Services are facilities of the governmental and non-governmental organisations, aiming to support the civilian population in cases natural or anthropogenic disasters. This type of service or the organization that provides them, receives different names in different countrys. For a definition of what organisations exactly fall under this proposal see section Applies to.


German example: Technisches Hilfswerk (THW)

Australian example: State Emergency Service (SES) operator=State Emergency Service


Mandatory tags for all organisations worldwide

Tag Description
emergency=disaster_response To map the facilities of those groups that provide immediate response to disasters such as floods, storms, black-outs etc
operator=* The organisation that operates that station e.g. Queensland State Emergency Service
name=* The name of that groups station e.g. Scenic Rim SES

Applies to


emergency=disaster_response applies to a station of a not-military organisation that has the main objective to help the civil population during and after natural or anthropogenic disasters by working in the affected area but does not have firefighting or medical service as their main competence. The place is used for storing and repairing equipment (hand tools, trucks, boats, safety gear, …), training the members (volunteers or paid ones) and doing administrational tasks. It is the place where the members start a mission after getting alarmed.

Examples for affected organisations

Organisations that are affected are:

Examples for not affected organisaions

Not affected organisations that got discussed are at least:

Because they are not fitting the above meantioned definition

Features/Pages affected

deprecated tags

The following tags will be deprecated:

wiki pages

All language versions of all wiki pages for the deprecated tags will be set to "Status: deprecated".

The wiki page emergency=disaster_response, that is currently just some links grouped under "See also" will be filled with the information from this proposal. It will include the definition and how to map a facility of a disaster response organisaion.


A request to implement the editing/adding of emergency=disaster_response to the iD-Editor will be created.


As there is basically no use of emergency=disaster_response at the moment, it is too early to consider rendering it. Once the tag gets used and adopted by the community, a request for rendering it may get discussed.

Future plans

Proposal for facility/area specific tags

To keep it simple this proposal is limited to introduce emergency=disaster_response as an equivalent to amenity=police, amenity=fire_station or emergency=water_rescue. During discussion in the forum post the idea for a more detailed tagging scheme started. The idea is to also map things like warehouses, academys or training areas of disaster response organisations. Possible tags could be disaster_response=depot/academy/training_area/..., emergency_service=* or disaster_response_service=*. Currently we don't know about enough different organisations that could benefit from this tagging scheme so introducing a world wide taging scheme for this is not usefull/possible. At some point in the future after emergency=disaster_response got approved and adopted an analysisi of the use of emergency=disaster_response could help finding an adequate detailed tagging scheme.

External discussions


Please comment on the discussion page.