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In Italy the civil protection department is organised in a “National Service”, a complex system which includes all the forces provided by the State.
Article 11 of law no. 225 determines the following as operative structures of the National Service: the domestic scientific research groups (including Ingv and other research institutes), the domestic technical services, the voluntary organisations, the Italian Fire Brigade, the Armed Forces, the Police Forces, the National Forestry Commission, the Italian Red Cross, the structures of the Italian Health Service and the National Mountain rescue and speleological corps (C.N.S.A.S.-Cai).
In ordinary situations
The operative structures with the Department perform the monitoring, forecasting and risk prevention activities as well as the operative interventions, each with its own specific technical skills and its means and its skilled personnel. The domestic technical services and the national research groups participate above all in forecasting and prevention. In order to test the validity and the efficiency of the intervention, research and relief in difficult situations and the capacity for the national civil protection system to respond, the operative structures are periodically used in exercises and simulations of natural calamities, organised on a local, domestic and international level.
In situations of national emergency
In the event of natural calamities, catastrophes or other events which must be tackled with extraordinary means and powers, after the declaration of the state of emergency by the council of Ministers, the Prime Minister may avail of delegated commissioners and domestic operative structures for the necessary interventions. The management of the operative structures is assigned to the Head of the Civil Protection Department, as established by decree law no. 245 dated November 4 2002, converted into law no. 286 dated December 27, 2002.
The operative committee
The Operative committee, which ensures coordination of the emergency activity in accordance with the provisions of law no. 40 dated November 9, 2001, meets in the offices of the national civil protection department. The Committee is chaired by the Head of Department and is made up of representatives of the components and of the operative Structures of the National Civil Protection Service and of Public and Private Bodies and Administrations which manage the emergency together (Prime Minister’s Decree dated November 21 2006).
In order to know the evolution of the current emergency, the Civil Protection Department needs to know the information about the characteristics of the phenomenon and about the local system’s ability to cope with the emergency. Each operative structure must ensure a correct and constant flow of information at a domestic level and at a territorial level, with the support of the Local Authorities and the regional operations rooms. All the structures are called upon to provide detailed information on the consequences of the event in a timely manner in order to provide a first estimate of the damage, of the human, logical and technological resources present and which can be actuated on the territory and of any need for support.
The reference point of the national service of civil protection is the coordination centre SISTEMA, which receives, requests, develops, checks and disseminates the information about the calamities or critical situations on the territory. SISTEMA alerts and immediately activates the different components and the national operative structures responsible for managing the emergency to provide relief to the population affected, overcome the emergency and provide consultancy to all the administrations of the national service. SISTEMA operates as a support centre to the operative Committee of civil protection and guarantees actuation of the provisions of the Committee through the structures of the national service. The organisation and the operation of SISTEMA are defined with Prime Minister’s Decree dated December 3 2008.
• National groups of scientific research
• National technical services
• Voluntary service
• Fire Department
• Armed Forces
• Forestry commission
• Police Forces
• Italian red Cross
• National Health Service
• C.N.S.A.S (Cai)