The LOGE, together with the warehouse officer, updates the stock records with the stock movements related to the ERU deployment, capturing which modules have been deployed on the kit list and on the stock report.

The ERU equipment is not usually expected to be returned to the deploying NS. Instead, the kit is usually handed over to the HNS, following appropriate evaluations and a handover plan. Kit returns must be discussed and agreed with logistics. The procedure to agree kit returns is detailed in the ERU standard operating procedure.

Before getting started on the replenishment of the kit, the LOGE should make sure that:

  • The emergencies team have agreed to the replenishment.
  • All kit feedback has been considered and changes to the kit contents, if any, have been agreed.
  • Note: no items should normally be returned from an ERU deployment, but this can be agreed between the deployed team, the response lead and the logistics team on a case-by-case basis.

A REP form must be filled out and signed off by emergencies, logistics and finance before the replenishment of the kit begins. See the ERU kit standard operating procedure for more details.

Note: items that are added to the kit must be purchased through a RFA. Only the replenishment of deployed items can be triggered through a REP form.

The LOGE then puts a procurement plan together, indicating for each item:

  • how it will be sourced (small purchase, framework agreement, RFQ, etc)
  • an estimation of its value
  • an estimation of the delivery timeline.

The procurement plan is stored on PIMS and available from the LOGE upon request. As the replenishment is ongoing, the LOGE updates the directorate via the logistics status report, sent out every Friday afternoon, which captures the progress of replenishment.

Delivery of the different modules of the kit is organised by the LOGE and the warehouse officer. For delivery instructions, see the Bulwick warehouse SOP.

As items and modules are replenished, the LOGE liaises with international finance to ensure the new kit’s value is captured correctly on the balance sheet. See the balance sheet guidance note for more details.

The replenishment of ERU kits should ideally take a maximum of 15 weeks from the moment the technical owner validates the replenishment. However, supplier lead times vary and some modules are more challenging to source than others. The LOGE should provide weekly updates on replenishment progress through the logistics status report.

Download the full section here.

IFRC process – the Surge alert system

Following a NS request for surge capacity support, alerts will be generated from the surge capacity desk in Geneva, as per the activation procedure, which depends on the category of emergency (local, regional or global). Alerts are sent out to the rapid response personnel registered with the surge desk, and to the surge focal points within PNS (in British Red Cross, this includes members of staff from HR, logistics and emergencies).

On-call roster members will be expected to answer the alert within 24 to 48 hours in order to be able to respond to the need without any delays.

Alerts follow previous standard operating procedures with Information, Alert, Stand down and Deployment messages:

Type of alertMeaning
(I) InformationSystem members receive information of an event that may require surge support.
No response is necessary, but surge personnel to do the pre-checking for possible
(A) AlertSent to all active participants that meet the basic required profile and surge focal points
in PNSs.
An immediate reply with details of availability is required.
(D) DeployMembers receive an alert indicating who is deploying.
Alert contains name, profile and NS.
(S) Stand downDeployment request has been cancelled.

Available to download here.

A terms of reference (ToR) for the deployment should be provided with the alert message, containing the deployment requirements in terms of both the kit and personnel.

For more details on the IFRC’s internal ERU (and other emergency response personnel) deployment procedures, see the compiled surge standard operating procedures available from the IFRC surge desk.

British Red Cross internal process

In parallel to the IFRC process, the British Red Cross will follow its own internal procedures as outlined in the Disaster Management Standard Operating Procedures (DMSOPs). The response lead ensures all decisions are logged and documented through the standard ETF/SAT records. Below is a summarised version of the British Red Cross process for deploying an ERU:

  1. IFRC contacts on-call HoE and Int HR by phone/email informing them an ERU may be required.
  2. HoE and HR to check on-call team availability, also liaising with relevant regional and technical teams.
  3. ETF held to decide whether to confirm ERU availability with IFRC and potential funding options.
  4. HoE confirms with IFRC that ERU is available.
  5. On-call HR adviser and HR assistant put the team on standby.
  6. Logistics team prepare kit requirements for ERU team.
  7. IFRC receives all offers from NS and makes selection.
  8. IFRC then informs all PNSs that have been given the green light for deployment.
  9. IFRC senior officer, global surge capacity confirms deployment in writing.
  10. HR team mobilises for deployment, contacting the team and organising their transport to UKO for briefing.
  11. Logistics team mobilise kit.
  12. ERU briefed at UKO.
  13. If the ERU is deployed to an emergency within a region, the DMC assumes the role of deployment manager. For emergencies outside of the regional footprint, the response officer undertakes this role.

View and download a flowchart detailing the process for deploying an ERU here.


Before the decision is made to deploy the ERU, logistics provide the ETF with preliminary information on:

  • availability of ERU roster to deploy and deployment timeline
  • availability of kit to deploy, estimated deployment cost and timeline
  • status of British Red Cross globally pre-positioned stocks, including costs and shipping timeline.

After the decision to deploy is made, the below tasks must be completed per the allocated responsibilities.

If the ETF decides to deploy a British Red Cross ERU, based on the input of logistics but also of other teams such as security, finance and regional teams, the decision must also be made on the deployment location, including any suggestions to have a split deployment (with the ERU team split into different locations). This decision can be reviewed during the deployment, based on operational realities.

The below actions need to be completed:

Tasks relating to personnel deploymentResponsibility
Arrange briefing scheduleHR
Arrange mission float (maximum of $5,000)Response lead
Collate operations briefing packResponse lead
Notification of per diem allowance and advance HR
Pre-deployment checks: insurance, medicalHR
Arrange flights and visa HR
Request necessary kit, including workwear Response lead
Issue kit to delegates Logistics
Hand over mission float and related forms to delegates International finance
Issue visibility items to delegates HR
Notify in-country team (IFRC/ICRC) of itineraryHR
Write-off value of kit deployed from the balance sheet
and charge it to the relevant project code
International finance

Available to download here.

Note: a “briefing pack” is available from PIMS here. Reach out to international HR if you cannot access the documents through PIMS; they can share the briefing and debriefing templates upon request.

The kits are split into modules, designed around the various functions of the ERU. The ERU technical managers can advise which modules to deploy, based on the initial assessment received from the IFRC. For more details on logistics’ responsibility and internal procedure to deploy an ERU, read the ERU kit standard operating procedure and/or request the ERU step-by-step process flowchart.

  1. Response lead submits request for kit to aligned LogCo, stating kit type and tentative deployment date.
  2. Logistics team assistant preps standard kit (comms, IT, PFK) LOGE and warehouse officer prep ERU kit.
  3. Response lead raises RFA and sends to aligned LogCo.
  4. LogCo confirms availability of kit with operational team (ccing ESTA team).
  5. HR schedules briefings and kit issue with logistics team.
  6. HR informs delegate of briefing schedule and kit content.
  7. Logistics issues kit to delegates, waybill is signed.
  8. Kit stock tracker is updated.
  9. Post deployment: kit is returned to logistics team as agreed.

View and download a flowchart detailing the internal procedures for deploying an ERU here.

Monitoring the deployment

The ERU deployment can last between one and four months, with a new team sent out to take over from the previous one every four weeks. The operational lead and the response lead have overall responsibility for managing the deployment. However, the logistics team is involved each time a new team is sent out and are responsible for the below points:

Logistics ERU
Kit issued to outbound team (IT and/or comms)XX
Kit received from returning team (IT and/or comms)XX
Collecting feedback from returning teams on the ERU kit
(through the kit feedback form)
Attending briefings, as scheduled by HRXOptional
Attending debriefings, as scheduled by HRXOptional
Analysing and monitoring the ERU’s performance X

Available to download here.

For more details on reporting requirements, read the IFRC standard reporting requirements for ERU deployments and refer to the annexed templates within the IFRC ERU standard operating procedures (2012).

ERU delegates’ appraisal

Emergency Response Unit managers are also involved in the appraisal process of all British Red Cross delegates returning from an ERU deployment. The team leader appraises the ERU team members (the FACT delegate appraises the ERU team leader) using the IFRC surge standard appraisal form, which is shared with IFRC surge desk, British Red Cross HR and the roster manager.

Each ERU delegate must complete two separate end-of-mission reports. The first one is operational, and the second is focused on HR aspects of the deployment. This latter report is confidential and only shared with British Red Cross HR. The operational report can be shared within British Red Cross and with IFRC when relevant.

ERU evaluation

When the ERU intervention finishes (this can be after a full four-rotation deployment or fewer rotations, depending on the operational needs), it is good practice to request for an independent evaluation. Ideally a partner organisation should lead on the evaluation and present results to both the British Red Cross and the IFRC, and also to the relevant technical working groups to address suggested improvements.

Terms of reference for the evaluation should be drafted by the technical roster manager (logistics or MSM) with the operational lead and response lead, capturing points fed back by delegates through their end-of-mission reports and situation reports shared during deployment. The evaluation should include a “satisfaction survey”, to understand how others involved in the response (other ERUs, PNS, the IFRC coordination structure, the HNS and, where relevant, beneficiaries of support directly provided by the ERU) benefitted from its deployment. Standard Logistics ERU evaluation terms of reference are being developed by the Logistics ERU technical working group.

It is important to take the cost of evaluation into consideration when developing the budget for the response.

Read the next section on Replenishing the ERU kits here.

Download the full section here.

ERU human resources

When a NS chooses to hold an ERU of any type, they commit to having specialist personnel available to deploy within 24 to 48 hours at any time. This commitment implies that they will recruit, train and roster a pool of specialists large enough to support four rotations of the ERU they hold.

Recruiting an ERU

Recruiting ERU personnel is different from hiring staff, as ERU delegates will not be employed by the recruiting NS unless they are already a staff member. Instead, they will be trained and asked to volunteer for periods of time where they can be on standby for deployment within 24 to 48 hours after the ERU is called for by the surge desk at the IFRC.

ERU delegates only join the staff of a NS when they deploy, and they are usually not paid salaries until then, although they can be paid retainers for the time they are on call. When deployed, the deploying NS seconds the ERU delegates to the IFRC.

Recruiting for an ERU is also challenging because a successful recruitment relies on finding a rare mix of skills and experience:

  • adequate technical skills including being adaptable to an emergency context
  • relevant international experience
  • adequate soft skills or core competencies, including working effectively as a team, but also independently enough to deal with split deployments (for example, where the team may be spread across several locations)
  • availability to complete a long training pathway (usually several weeks long, spread over an entire year)
  • ability to remain on call for several months per year, and to deploy at short notice for one month at a time.

Recruiting for an ERU is usually done jointly between a technical ERU manager and HR colleagues. In British Red Cross, this is a member of the logistics team (usually the logistics manager), a member from the emergencies, surge and technical advisory (ESTA) team, a member from the learning and development team and the international rosters and registers coordinator in HR. It requires careful planning and constant communication with internal stakeholders.

Typically, the recruitment of ERU roster delegates takes several months and is split as below:

An arrow shows the progression of the recruitment pathway for the ERU: advertising, long-listing, short-listing, technical interview and assessment day

The recruitment for ERU members is separated into two different stages: recruitment and training. It is important to note that candidates are only considered ERU members after they successfully “pass” the training pathway, which consists of both classroom training and simulation exercises.

Once recruited, ERU members are made “deployment-ready” by:

  • having their personal details pre-recorded in the HR department’s systems: contact details, bank details, health records and criminal records (where applicable)
  • regular check-ins with HR, especially during the months when they are on standby
  • maintaining updated records of their professional experience.

The National Society sponsoring an ERU covers salaries, benefits, insurance and travel costs of personnel during training and operations. It is also responsible for putting the team together, as well as making sure it has the necessary skills and experience. Each member must adhere to the International Federation’s code of conduct.

The British Red Cross maintains two Logistics ERUs and one MSM ERU, which means that the minimum size of the ERU pools should be 16 to 24 logisticians and 16 to 24 MSM delegates.

Training ERU personnel

Once the recruitment phase is completed, the training pathway begins. In the British Red Cross, training is a two or three-phase process.

  1. Impact – Introduction to Red Cross Movement and humanitarian coordination mechanisms
  2. Foundation – Introduction to emergency operations and the IFRC Disaster Response mechanisms
  3. Technical/Specialist – Simulation exercise: run in teams in field-like conditions

Impact and Foundation can either be delivered together or separately. In between each of these formal, face-to-face training phases, independent, at-home training modules must also be completed.

For more detailed information, see the latest version of the British Red Cross ERU candidate guide, which is attached to the advertisement for ERU membership and sent to all applicants to help them understand the recruitment process.

The requirement is currently for all candidates to follow the training pathway in person, but this may change in the future with the use of remote/online training.

Maintaining an active roster

Once candidates enter the ERU, they are added to a roster.

Each ERU technical manager engages differently with their respective rosters through the international rosters and registers coordinator in the HR team. Regular touchpoints are:

  • Request for availability. The MSM ERU manager goes to the pool of members once a year, while the Logistics ERU manager asks for availability on the 15th of each month for M+2 (for example, on 15 January, roster members are asked to come forward to be on standby on 1 March).
  • Updating the roster members’ details: CV, medical and criminal records (as applicable), to ensure they are deployment-ready during the months they have offered to be on standby.
  • Sharing training opportunities, from within the British Red Cross, from the IFRC or the wider humanitarian community, that can be useful to develop roster members’ competencies. These are sent by the international rosters and registers coordinator, upon request of the ERU manager.
  • Refresher conferences and masterclasses. At least once a year, the MSM and logistics communities get together (separately) for either a refresher course, a conference or a masterclass. These events are organised by the ERU managers and their learning and development business partner.
  • Inviting roster members to facilitate trainings or share their deployment experience. Roster members can be invited to participate in parts of the ERU pathway, particularly to share their deployment experiences or support simulation exercises.
  • Quarterly calls with roster members, with follow-up newsletter sent to all members.

At any of the above touchpoints, it is important to reconsider the roster members’ competencies, and to capture any changes on the roster. Members’ competencies should be registered on a mapping matrix, maintained by the ERU manager and the international rosters and registers coordinator. The current matrix can be requested from the Logs team.

Note: members can request to be put on hold, or they can be put on hold by decision of the ERU technical managers, based on lack of competencies or commitment. In order to become active again, they must usually complete all or part of the ERU training pathway or attend a refresher conference.

ERU equipment

When a NS offers to sponsor an ERU, they commit to having a team of experts on standby for rapid deployment, as well as a standard, specialised kit ready to support the team in fulfilling their mission. For more details about the content of the ERU kits, see the Logistics ERUs and the MSM20 ERU sections.

The sponsoring NS agrees to procure, store and maintain the kit, and to participate in the development of the standard kit composition as relevant, through feeding back on the appropriateness of kit following deployments.

At the British Red Cross, the content of both ERU kits are procured mostly through framework agreements, by the LOGE and with the approval of the global response manager. After a kit has been deployed, its replenishment must be approved by the global response manager, as well as any changes to the kit proposed following kit feedback (see the Replenishing the ERU kits section).

The items received are kitted into modules (the MSM kit has 38 modules in total, split into eight families, while the logistics ERU has 14 modules, split into seven families) and stored at the international warehouse in Bulwick.

Some of the kits’ contents, such as vehicles and cold-weather-specific equipment, is common to both ERUs – these are called the “shared modules” and can be deployed with either ERU kit.

The warehouse officer is responsible for ensuring the safety and maintenance of the entire ERU equipment. This includes vehicles, generators, all electric appliances and safety equipment such as fire extinguishers.

The value of the ERU kits is managed as an investment, where British Red Cross funds the purchases until the kit is charged to an emergency operation. Until then, the value of the kit sits on a balance sheet that captures additions, write-offs and disposals to the kit while it is in stock. For more details on this procedure, refer to the ERU kit standard operating procedure and the balance sheet guidance note held by the logistics team.

Financial commitments

All the costs associated with maintaining an ERU’s preparedness outside of a response operation are covered by the sponsoring NS. This includes storage costs and maintenance costs for the kit, but also retainers for on-call delegates and training costs. The storage and maintenance costs are budgeted for by the logistics team, and funds become part of the logistics framework, while retainer costs fall under the HR budget and training costs under the learning and development budget.

When the decision is made to deploy one of the British Red Cross ERUs, the cost of deployment is covered by the British Red Cross, as a pledge to the IFRC-led operation. The decision to apply later for back-funding from the IFRC appeal is made depending on funds available from the British Red Cross.

During the deployment, operational costs can be charged to the IFRC, while running costs must be covered by the British Red Cross.

  • Operational costs: costs related to any activity listed on the IFRC appeal. For example, where the appeal includes construction of latrines, all costs associated with their construction (materials, manpower, etc) will be covered by the funds raised against the IFRC appeal.
  • Running costs: costs related to having the MSM ERU deployed into the operation. For example, the cost of food and accommodation for the ERU delegates.

A table listing the most common types of expenditure of an ERU deployment and the nature of costs involved here.

In summary, the breakdown of costs is usually as below:

PhaseAssociated costsCosts covered byComments
BRC logistics
Delegate costs (retainers,
health checks, etc)
TrainingBRC L&D
Decision to deployShipping costs
Travel costs
Per diem
Dedicated BRC project
Can be recharged to IFRC appeal
(ad hoc and with prior approval
from IFRC)
DeploymentOperational costsIFRC appealSee details in cost type table
Running costs
(including per diem)
Dedicated BRC project
ReturnShipping back to UK or
other storage location
Inspection costs
Dedicated BRC project
ERU equipment is not supposed to
be shipped back to the UK
Dedicated BRC project
Evaluation can be commissioned
or done with internal resources

Available to download here.

Read the next section on Deploying an ERU here.

Download the full section here.

General overview of the ERU system

Emergency Response Units (ERUs) were created in 1994 as part of the global IFRC disaster response system. They are to be used in large emergency response operations, when global assistance is needed and the Federation’s delegations and the affected National Society (NS) cannot respond alone. ERUs provide specific services where local capacity is insufficient to cope and are deployed to complement the work of a NS. By providing specific technical services, they enable the NS to focus on their strategic approach to the emergency response.

An ERU is a team of trained technical specialists deployed at short notice and a pre-packed set of standardised equipment to support the delivery of their objectives. They are designed to be self-sufficient for one month and can operate for up to four months, with the possibility of extending further if required. The ERUs are vital in the IFRC’s disaster response system. When the term is used within the Movement, it covers both the team of specialists and the kit they deploy with. However, an ERU deployment can also mean a single delegate with a laptop and a satellite phone.

There are different types of ERUs, and one or more of them can be called to the same disaster, depending on the specific needs in the affected region. They are called upon after initial assessment of the post-disaster needs.

National Societies can choose whether they want to hold an ERU; if they do, they are free to choose which type of ERU they wish to maintain. When an NS commits to maintaining an ERU, this usually means that it will maintain standard equipment and a roster of on-call specialists (who it will recruit, train, develop and commit to periods of availability). In some exceptional cases, an NS will maintain a roster of personnel and only deploy them into another NS’s ERU (so they do not own a complete ERU).

When an ERU is deployed, it is expected that the deploying NS can cover the funding of the team and its kit for four months. ERU personnel can only deploy for four weeks at a time, and when the fourth rotation of personnel leaves the operation, a handover plan must be in place to plan for the next stage of the operation.

The need for assistance may continue beyond an ERU’s four-month operational period. If so, the service can be managed by the IFRC’s ongoing operation, the host National Society, the local government or other organisations.

Different types of ERUs

There are ten different types of ERU (see table and list below). The National Societies listed below can be supported by other National Societies with trained personnel and can share resources but should be considered as leads in case of joint deployments.

ERU type

  • Logistics ERU


  • To manage the arrival of large amounts of goods either flown in by air or trucked and shipped in, the clearance of these goods, their storage and subsequent distribution.
  • The unit is also responsible for the reporting on these items (it tracks all incoming goods according to a ‘mobilisation table’ and pipeline documents) and fleet management. In addition, the unit supports the clearance of other ERUs, which often arrive with heavy equipment, and a large part of the logistics ERU mandate revolves around capacity building.
  • The logistics ERU does not provide procurement services to other ERUs, PNSs or the HNS. Optional additions to standard kit (available upon request, though not held by all NS): four-wheel drive, forklift.

Team size

  • 4-6

NS capacity

  • British Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross

ERU type

  • IT and Telecommunications ERU


  • To establish local communication networks and links, to help ensure the smooth flow of information in the operation. To assist the Host National Society with its communication systems.

Team size

  • 2-3

NS capacity

  • American Red Cross, Austrian Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, New Zealand Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross

ERU type

  • WatSan module 15


  • To provide treatment and distribution of up to 225,000 litres of water a day for a population of 15,000 people, with a storage capacity of 200,000 litres a day. This unit can also provide basic sanitation and hygiene promotion for up to 5,000 people.
  • The module is designed to respond to scattered populations. It is flexible and can deploy as several stand-alone units for up to five different locations.
  • Integrated in this M15 is the distribution and capacity for the transport of treated water to dispersed populations, with a capacity of up to 75,000 litres a day and the option to set up different storage and distribution points.

Team size

  • 4-8

NS capacity

  • Austrian Red Cross, French RC, German RC, Spanish RC

ERU type

  • WatSan module 40


  • To provide treatment and distribution of water for larger populations. The unit can treat up to 600,000 litres a day for a population of up to 40,000 people. As with the M15 unit, the M40 has an integrated distribution capacity for the transport of treated water to dispersed populations.

Team size

  • 4-8

NS capacity

  • Austrian RC, French RC, German RC, Swedish RC

ERU type

  • Mass Sanitation module 20


  • To provide basic sanitation facilities (latrines, vector control and solid waste disposal) for up to 20,000 people, to initiate hygiene promotion programmes and to provide dead body management services.
  • Optional additions to standard kit (available upon request although not held by all NS): flat-pack latrines, diggers.

Team size

  • 4-6

NS capacity

  • Austrian Red Cross, British Red Cross, German Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross

ERU type

  • Referral Hospital ERU


  • First-level field hospital, providing referral-level multi-disciplinary care to a population of up to 250,000 people. The inpatient capacity ranges from 75–150 beds, providing surgery, limited traumatology, anaesthesia, internal medicine gynaecology, obstetrics and paediatrics.
  • It consists of one or two operating theatres, a delivery room, inpatient wards and treatment areas, X-ray and a laboratory. It also provides an outpatient department and an emergency room to ensure the treatment of casualties.
  • The unit needs to be self-sufficient, and therefore includes supporting modules such as administration, IT and telecom, water and power supply, staff accommodation and vehicles.

Team size

  • 15-20

NS capacity

  • Finnish Red Cross, German Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross

ERU type

  • Rapid Deployment Hospital


  • A specifically modified, lighter version of the Referral Hospital ERU, which can deploy within 48 hours of alert and offers medical and surgical interventions, such as triage, first aid and medevac.
  • It also has limited medical/surgical care, including an outpatient department. It can function for up to ten days, pending the arrival of a more complete hospital or a Basic Healthcare ERU. It can also be used as mobile clinic if required at a later phase of operation.

Team size

  • 8-10

NS capacity

  • Canadian Red Cross, Finnish RC, German RC, Norwegian RC

ERU type

  • Basic Healthcare ERU


  • To provide immediate basic curative, preventive and community healthcare for up to 30,000 beneficiaries, using a modular approach adjusting to local needs and according to WHO basic protocols. The unit deploys with the Interagency Emergency Health Kit. The unit can deliver basic outpatient clinic services, maternal-child health (including uncomplicated deliveries), community health outreach, immunisation and nutritional surveillance.
  • It does not function as a hospital but has 10–20 overnight bed-capacity for observation.
  • This ERU also requires the availability of local health staff and interpreters to support services and should have the agreement of the local health authorities for the ERU expatriate (doctors/nurses) to provide healthcare.

Team size

  • 5-8

NS capacity

  • Canadian RC, Finnish RC, German RC, Norwegian RC, French RC, Japanese RC

ERU type

  • Relief ERU


  • To support the Host National Society to undertake relief assessments, targeted beneficiary selection and to assist in the set-up of food and NFI distribution, as well as compile relief distribution statistics.
  • This ERU can also assist in the setting up of camps and works closely with the Logistics ERU. The Relief ERU can set up cash-based responses to the emergency, in which case the collaboration with logistics is strengthened.

Team size

  • 4-6

NS capacity

  • American Red Cross, Benelux Red Cross, Danish Red C, Finnish RC, French RC, Spanish RC

ERU type

  • Base camp ERU


  • To provide RCRC staff engaged in emergency operations with appropriate living and working conditions. The Base Camp ERU offers tented accommodation (conditioned for hot and cold climates), toilets, hot showers, recreational facilities, a kitchen, offices, administrative, IT/communication and coordination facilities, in locations where these are not available for RCRC staff.

Team size

  • Varies

NS capacity

  • Danish Red Cross, Italian Red Cross

Download a table detailing all ERU types here.

British Red Cross ERUs

The British Red Cross has chosen to maintain two Logistics ERUs and one MSM ERU. The kit required for those three teams is stored at the international warehouse in Bulwick, Northamptonshire.

For more information about the warehouse, see the Bulwick international warehouse standard operating procedure or contact the warehouse officer.

The Logistics ERUs

British Red Cross stores enough kit and personnel to deploy two simultaneous Logistics ERUs. See above table for a detailed description of the objectives of the Logistics ERU.

The standard kit content designed by IFRC is available from the IFRC standard products catalogue (code ULOGLOGI). In agreement with the IFRC, however, the British Red Cross has made some additions and modifications to the standard list (see above for details of optional additions to MSM and Logistics ERU kit).

For a detailed content list of the British Red Cross ERU kit, contact the UKO logistics team.

Logistics ERU teams are made up of:

  • a team leader
  • a warehouse and transport delegate
  • an airops delegate
  • one or two supply chain administration delegates.

Detailed role descriptions for each of the above roles are available from the logistics team.

Previous deployments of the Logistics ERUs include:

  • Honduras in 2021
  • Dominica in 2017
  • Greece, Vanuatu and Liberia in 2015
  • The Philippines in 2014
  • Chad in 2013.

For more information on deployments, contact the logistics team.

The National Societies that maintain a Logistics ERU have created a technical working group (TWG) to share experiences and challenges, under the sponsorship of the IFRC. The group meets once a year for a two-day conference, gathering representatives of the Swiss, Danish, Finnish, Spanish and British Red Cross, as well as the ICRC and IFRC. The agenda and minutes of the TWG meetings can be shared upon request.

For more details about management of the Logistics ERU, see the ERU standard operating procedure developed by the logistics team.


The British Red Cross stores enough kit and personnel to deploy one Mass Sanitation Management ERU. See the above table for a detailed description of the objectives of the MSM20 ERU.

The standard kit content designed by IFRC is available from the IFRC standard products catalogue (code UWATMMSMCOMP). In agreement with the IFRC, however, the British Red Cross has made some additions and modifications to the standard list. To see a detailed content list of the British Red Cross ERU kit, please contact the UKO logistics team.

MSM ERU teams are made up of:

  • a team leader
  • a sanitation engineer
  • a hygiene promoter
  • one or two specialist support delegates.

Detailed role descriptions for each of the above roles are available from the logistics team.

Previous deployments of the MSM ERUs include:

  • Mozambique in 2019
  • Uganda in 2017
  • Bangladesh (Cox’s Bazaar) in 2017
  • Greece in 2015
  • Nepal in 2015
  • Mozambique in 2013.

Read the next section on ERU Human resources, ERU equipment and financial responsibilities here.

Download the full section here.

Emergency Response Units

IFRC Global tools: Emergency Response Units

Learn more in the What are the ERUs? section.

British Red Cross and the Emergency Response Units

Learn more in the British Red Cross ERUs section.

Maintaining an Emergency Response Unit

Learn more in the ERU Human resources, ERU equipment and financial responsibilities section.

Deploying an Emergency Response Unit

Learn more in the Deploying an ERU section.

Replenishing an Emergency Response Unit kit

Learn more in the Replenishing the ERU kits section.

Download the whole ERUs section here.

Stock management with the IFRC

Each OLPSCM charges a monthly fee to the British Red Cross for holding and managing pre-positioned stocks. Additionally, stock movements initiated by the British Red Cross are charged through pre-agreed logistics services requests (LSR), which provide an indication of the cost of moving the stock, allow the logistics lead (LOGE or LogCo) to raise a PO against the estimated costs and eventually pay the IFRC’s invoice. It should be noted that real costs can be far from the quoted costs, not least because VAT is not included in Agresso POs. A variance of more than 10 per cent between a PO and an invoice will require additional approvals in Agresso.

Annual storage costs are budgeted in the British Red Cross logistics team budget, and logistics issue an annual PO for those services to each OLPSCM, against which monthly invoices sent to SSC are reconciled. This process is managed through the logistics team and SSC, with support from the international finance team. All costs related to the storage of pre-positioned stocks are charged to the logistics budget.

Note: invoices for storage fees and services agreed through LSRs are sent from Geneva, usually with a delay of a month or two. For more details on this, see the British Red Cross management of stocks section below.

In exchange for the costs charged to the British Red Cross, IFRC provides storage space and manages the storing, rotating, shipping, receiving and quality assurance of British Red Cross stocks. IFRC also sends monthly and year-end stock reports. In addition, British Red Cross logistics visit two OLPSCMs each year and conduct a stock and warehouse audit. Reports are available from the logistics team. The audit consists of a spot check on stocks and a standard warehouse audit, focusing on the storage conditions and systems in place in the OLPSCM.

Note: some of the OLPSCM warehouses (including Kuala Lumpur and Dubai) offer quality assurance services and have facilities to perform quality tests on specific items delivered to their warehouse. This needs to be arranged and comes at a cost – for more details, contact the LOGE in the UKO logistics team.

British Red Cross management of stocks

The British Red Cross manages the pre-positioned stocks with the operational support of the IFRC. Within the logistics team, the LOGE is tasked with managing the stocks that are pre-positioned at the OLPSCMs.

The management of pre-positioned stocks by logistics is described in the RLU standard operating procedure, while the financial management is done in collaboration with logistics’ finance business partner. The financial aspects of managing those stocks are captured in the balance sheet guidance document.

In case of any questions, contact the LOGE in the international logistics team.

Requesting for stocks from the OLPSCMs

There are various ways of accessing the British Red Cross pre-positioned stocks. Agreements and standard operating procedures are in place to cover both issuing mechanisms.

Pledging stocks

When a disaster occurs, the IFRC usually issues a mobilisation table (a ‘mob table’). The mob table is designed to list all in-kind requirements to fulfil the IFRC’s emergency plan of action (EPoA) and emergency appeal (EA) and is issued to Partner National Societies who can choose to pledge items against the listed needs.

In this case, the pledge must be agreed with the emergencies team and with the regional team (usually the disaster management coordinator) during an emergency task force (ETF) meeting. Ultimately, the decision to pledge stocks against a mob table lies with the operational lead (this would be the head of region or the global response manager, depending on the context of the emergency). The LOGE must be informed ahead of the ETF so they can provide the relevant logistics coordinator with sufficient stock information to share in the ETF. This information will include, but may not be limited to:

  • list of items in stock and quantities
  • indicative cost of items and shipping costs to deliver them to the operation
  • indicative delivery lead time to country of response for all items
  • indicative replenishment lead time for all items.

It is an ETF-made decision to pledge any of the available items to the IFRC-led response. When stocks are pledged, they are essentially donated to the IFRC. All costs associated with the stock and its movement will be charged to the budget codes, as advised by the operational lead nominated in the ETF. It is worth noting that pledges can be made against British Red Cross pre-positioned stocks in the OLPSCMs but other items can also be pledged, in which case the UK-based logistics team will source the pledged items through a procurement process. The decision to pledge items beyond those in stock is made based on cost, lead time and the specific needs of the operation (where they are not fulfilled by standard items).

Following the decision to pledge, the LOGE and/or the logistics coordinator manage the release of the pledged stocks from the relevant OLPSCM into the operation, initially through an RFA (see the RFA guidance note). It is important that this is done with the input of the LOGE for the following reasons:

  • The LOGE holds the relationship with the OLPSCM.
  • The LOGE maintains records of pre-positioned stocks together with logistics’ business partner and is best placed to know the cost of stocks and how to allocate them in the stock balance sheet.
  • The LOGE will be tasked with the replenishment of the stock in the OLPSCM. To avoid any loss of information or time, it is preferable that they are the lead on any stock movements in or out of the OLPSCM.

Selling stocks

Any Movement partner can request stocks from the OLPSCMs. External organisations can also access Red Cross stocks through the IFRC, who will contact the most appropriate stock owner to arrange the terms of the donation/sale.

In this case, they would reach out to the OLPSCM teams, who would determine which stock is most appropriate (for information about different stock sources in the OLPSCMs, see the IFRC’s OLPSCM offer and system). They may then contact the best-placed stock owner to ask to buy some of their stocks.

When the request comes to the British Red Cross, it will be sent to the LOGE, who will seek approval from the emergencies team (usually the global response manager, as owner of the pre-positioned stocks). If approval is granted, the LOGE will get back to the OLPSCM with the details of the cost of the items, and the OLPSCM will issue a purchase order for the items.

After confirmation that the stocks have left the OLPSCM is received (a signed waybill), the LOGE commences the replenishment process, using a REP form (see the Replenishing stocks in the OLPSCMs section below).

Note: for more information on the stock balance sheet, see the balance sheet guidance note.

It is also possible for the British Red Cross to access other PNSs’ stocks (through pledges or purchases), or indeed Federation stocks through the mechanism that applies to all other National Societies: a request must be placed to the IFRC via the LOGE, detailing items, quantities and country of delivery. In this case, stocks will be sold to the British Red Cross.

Replenishing stocks in the OLPSCMs

After stock items are released from an OLPSCM warehouse, they need to be replaced by new stock – this is called replenishment. If the agreed stock target for a specific item is lower than what was previously in stock, the items that were released will not be replaced.

Ideally the stock should be replaced like-for-like (in terms of quality and quantity, with specifications matching the standard product catalogue), but there may be a decision to postpone or adjust the replenishment for one or more of the below reasons:

  • Minimum order quantity: some suppliers only accept orders above an agreed quantity.
  • Procurement optimisation: where other stock movements are planned or being arranged, the LOGE will compile all quantities before placing the replenishment order.
  • Specification reviews: specialised items may require a review of specifications before the British Red Cross decides to replenish them into the stocks.

To replenish stocks, the LOGE will raise a REP form and have it signed off by logistics, emergencies and finance. For more details about the REP process, refer to the OLPSCM standard operating procedure (contact the British Red Cross international logistics team).

The process to follow is slightly different when a new item needs to be added to the pre-positioned stocks. This must be done through a request for action (RFA) which must be approved by logistics (the head of logistics or senior logistics manager, depending on the amount), budget holder and finance business partner.

The LOGE will manage the order and arrange freight to the relevant OLPSCM, using the shipping instructions shared by the OLPSCM. The LOGE will communicate order details with the OLPSCM, so they are informed ahead of the delivery.

The LOGE provides updates on ongoing replenishments in the logistics status report on a weekly basis.

For more detailed step-by-step guidance, refer to the OLPSCM standard operating procedures.

Read the next chapter on Emergency Response Units here.

Download the full section here.

The IFRC’s OLPSCM offer and system

The IFRC manages warehouses globally to pre-position emergency response stocks in all regions of the world using Regional Logistics Units (RLUs). See the Stock positioning section of the Warehousing chapter for more details.

The IFRC’s stock pre-positioning strategy takes several variables into consideration, including turnover (see the British Red Cross stocks in IFRC’s OLPSCMs section below for more details) and usage.

The stocks pre-positioned in the IFRC’s global warehouses are held through various mechanisms:

  • Federation-owned stocks (FOS): items belonging to IFRC, stored in IFRC-managed warehouses.
  • Vendor-consignment inventory (VCI): items owned by suppliers but stored in IFRC-managed warehouse.
  • Supplier-reserved stocks (SRS): items stored at suppliers’ facilities, reserved for IFRC purchases.
  • Partner National Societies’ stocks (PNS): items owned by PNS, stored in IFRC-managed warehouses.

Through the global logistics service (GLS) agreement, IFRC offers to hold stock for other National Societies in those warehouses. Each warehouse is managed by the OLPSCM and operates following their own standard operating procedure. Copies of each OLPSCM’s standard operating procedure are available to stock-holding PNSs upon request.

This stock is owned by the PNS but managed by the IFRC staff in the region. The GLS defines the terms and conditions of this relationship; there are costs associated with the storage, handling and shipping of PNS-owned stocks. In return, the IFRC offers stock management services, such as stock rotation, quality control at reception, consignment preparation and freight services. The OLPSCMs share monthly stock reports and annual stocktake reports with stock-holding PNSs and participate in their stock strategy upon request.

British Red Cross stocks in IFRC’s OLPSCMs

The British Red Cross holds stock in four of the IFRC’s regional warehouses. This corresponds to the areas of focus defined in the British Red Cross international strategy and to the countries where the British Red Cross maintains ongoing partnerships:

Warehouse locationRegion
Harare, ZimbabweEast and Southern Africa
Panama City, PanamaAmericas and overseas branches (OSBs)
Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaAsia
(Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean)

The variety of items the British Red Cross pre-positions in each warehouse varies, but they are mostly non-food items (NFIs) and follow the IFRC standard product catalogue specifications. The mix of items in stock in each location varies based on regional context, overall stock targets and British Red Cross budgetary constraints, on the IFRC’s access to stocks in the region and on stock-holding PNSs and the resources available to manage stocks.

The type and quantity of items that the British Red Cross pre-positions in each location is agreed with the emergencies team and the regional teams on an annual basis through the stock strategy review process (see the British Red Cross stock ownership, strategy and review section below).

The quantities held in stock in each location are agreed on an annual basis, with suggestions made by the logistics officer for global emergencies (LOGE), based on several variables:


  • Annual stock turnover.


  • Rate at which stock is issued and replaced. This should be more than one, or the set stock target is too high and stock will sit in warehouses for too long before it is used, running the risk of becoming damaged or obsolete.


  • The IFRC’s stock strategy and access to other forms of ownership (VCI, SRS, FOS) and other PNSs stock strategies where possible.


  • The British Red Cross will try to bridge gaps between the IFRC’s global stock strategy and other partners’ ability to pre-position stocks.


  • Replenishment lead times.


  • The quantities held in stock will depend on lead times to source more of the same: if the lead time is longer than the time it takes for stocks to be depleted, then stock levels will be higher. If the market is able to supply replenishment items quickly, then small quantities can be held in stock.


  • Historical demand for stock.


  • Items in higher demand will be stocked in larger quantities.

British Red Cross stock ownership, strategy and review

The stock that British Red Cross pre-positions in IFRC‘s OLPSCM units belongs to the British Red Cross emergencies team and is managed by the international logistics team. The LOGE has direct relationships with the warehouse team in each OLPSCM and regular meetings are held between British Red Cross and IFRC staff to report on stock status and stock movements.

The British Red Cross logistics team regularly reports directly to the international directorate on performance against stock targets, through the weekly logistics status report and the international directorate’s quarterly reports (international dashboard report).

Every year, the logistics team suggests reviews to the British Red Cross’ stock offer in view of the data (see the British Red Cross stocks in IFRC’s OLPSCMs section above). The emergencies team is free to accept or refuse the proposed changes, based on their understanding of the future responses of the British Red Cross and on regional priorities.

It is important to understand the segregation between ownership and management of stock: logistics must seek approval from emergencies every time a stock movement is considered. For more details on budgeting for pre-positioned stock, see the British Red Cross management of stocks section.

In 2020, the British Red Cross current stock strategy and targets were as below:

Item descriptionKuala LumpurDubaiPanamaZimbabwe
Blanket cotton10,000
Blanket light thermal1,500
Blanket medium thermal20,00015,0003,500
Plastic bucket3,0002,500
Family tent500
Hygiene kit2,0001,000750
Jerry can 10L8,0004,0001,500
Jerry can 20L3,500
Kitchen set A6,0003,000750
Kitchen set B-
Mosquito net - large11,0005,0001,5003,000
Plastic mat
(sleeping mat)
Shelter toolkit4,000
WH tent21
Watsan kit 5-
Rapid latrines-
Bbowl and ptrap
Squat plates-

Available to download here.

Note: the logistics team share the updated stock levels with the entire international directorate on a weekly basis in the logistics status report. Current stock levels and latest stock movements are listed on the first pages of the report.

Where the OLPSCM’s storage capacity becomes insufficient, there is an option to store items in one of the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) warehouses. UNHRD maintains a network of strategically located hubs for pre-positioning relief items and humanitarian support equipment. It can provide storage free of charge in Ghana, Italy, UAE, Malaysia, Spain and Panama. It is also possible to source certain items from the UNHRD network. For more details, liaise with the UK-based logistics team.

A screenshot of a map showing locations of UNHRD hubs in Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Brindisi, Accra, Las Palmas and Panama

Read the next section on Stock management principles here.

Download the full section here.

Regional Logistics Units stocks

IFRC global warehouse hubs

Learn more in the IFRC’s OLPSCM offer and system section.

British Red Cross globally pre-positioned stock strategy

Learn more in the British Red Cross stocks in IFRC’s OLPSCMs and British Red Cross stock ownership, strategy and review sections.

British Red Cross globally pre-positioned stocks: sourcing, tracking, dispatching, replenishing

Learn more in the Stock management principles section.

British Red Cross stock sales and pledges

Learn more in the Requesting for stocks from the OLPSCMs section.

Download the whole RLU stocks chapter here.

All the processes detailed in this chapter relate to the management of British Red Cross’ international fleet.

For policies applicable to vehicles in use in the UK, refer to the page on RedRoom dedicated to fleet management by searching for “information about our vehicles” on the Redroom search bar).

The British Red Cross also has a maintenance of British Red Cross vehicles policy that applies to British Red Cross vehicles being driven in the UK.

Read the next chapter on British Red Cross globally pre-positioned stocks here.

Download the full section here.

View and download a list of documents to be kept in vehicle files for vehicles purchased through HQ and purchased locally here.

Beyond the vehicle files, the below documents must be kept in the fleet files:

  • copies of all mission orders
  • copies of fuel procurement contracts or purchase receipts
  • drivers’ files, containing driving licenses, training records, driver authorisation forms, signed rules and regulations forms, disciplinary procedure records.

Read the next section on British Red Cross domestic fleet management systems and procedures here.

Download the full section here.