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The "civil protection" is the set of activities put in place to protect the integrity of life, properties, settlements and the environment from damages or risk of damages arising from disasters: risk prediction and prevention, rescue to affected populations, contrast and overcome of the emergency and mitigation of risks.
Civil protection is not a task assigned to a sole administration, but is a function belonging to a complex system: the National Service of Civil Protection. Established by Law n. 225 of 1992, the National Service has as its components the central government of the State, the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, Provinces, municipalities and mountain communities.
The National Fire Department, the Armed Forces, the Police, the National Forestry Corps, the scientific community, the Italian Red Cross, the structures of the National Health Service, voluntary organizations, the National Mountain and Alpine Rescue Corps form the operating structures.
The National Service operates at central, regional and local level, in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. The local context of our country, subject to a variety of risks, makes necessary a civil protection system that, in every area, ensures the presence of human resources, facilities and operational capabilities able to intervene quickly in case of emergency, but also to operate for prevention and, as far as possible, predict potential disasters.
The first response to the emergency, whatever the nature and extent of the event, needs to be guaranteed at the local level, from the municipal structure, which is the closest institution to the citizen. The first head of civil protection in each municipality is, therefore, the Mayor. But when the event cannot be met by the means available to the municipality, the higher levels are activated through an integrated and coordinated action: the Province, the Prefecture, the Region, to the involvement of the State in the event of a national emergency.
The strength of such a complex system of competences is the guidance and coordination entrusted to the President of the Council of Ministers, which makes use of the Civil Protection Department.