INTERNATIONAL CIVIL DEFENSE EMBLEM:  The international civil defense emblem is a blue equilateral triangle, placed with one point upward, on an orange background.  The points of the triangle should not touch the edges of the orange field.  When the blue triangle is displayed on a flag, tabard or vest, or armband the orange background should be the field of the flag or armband or vest.  The actual size of the emblem should be as large as appropriate for the way it is displayed, and that display should be arranged so as to be visible from as many directions and as far away as possible.  The symbol may be placed on a flag, or a flat surface, may be lighted to increase visibility at night or in conditions of reduced visibility, and may be made of materials that allow technical means of detection, such as radar or infrared sensors, to readily distinguish it. 

This emblem is used to identify civil defense organizations and personnel, to mark their buildings and equipment, and to identify shelters for civilians in wartime.  This identification provides specific protections to civil defense personnel and activity and to civilians protected by that activity under the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. The use of the emblem in peacetime is also permitted.

The Republic of the Philippines National Disaster Coordinating Council provides a compelling statement of the obligation that wearing the international civil defense emblem entails, whether in war or peace:

"Persons wearing this sign have the duty to provide, in all circumstances, protection and assistance to populations in the face of disasters and armed conflicts and to promote a culture of disaster prevention within the population." (Republic of the Philippines 2003) 

Sources: McMillan, Joe, "Geneva Convention Protocol Flags," in Flags of the World, location http://atlasgeo.span.ch/fotw/flags/ifrc-gen.html, 3 May 2000.  Republic of the Philippines, National Disaster Coordinating Council, Office of Civil Defense, "Basic Elements of Civil Defense," location http://www.ndcc.gov.ph/ocd_basic%20elements.html, accessed 23 July 2003.  United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armed Conflicts, location http://www.unhchr.ch.html/menu3/b/93.htm, 8 June 1977.

Entry 0363 - posted 23 July 2003