Relief to the population during an emergency is the activity that identifies the main function of civil protection, although over the years the powers of the system have been extended to the development of risk knowledge and relevant actions to prevent or minimize the damage of disasters.
Law n. 225 of 1992 - establishing the National Service - defines the civil protection activities: prediction and risk prevention, relief to the affected population ,contrast and overcome the emergency and risk mitigation. Many public and private administrations and institutions contribute to civil protection activities: they are defined by the law components and operational structures of the National Service.
In ordinary. Components and operational structures of the National Service are committed, depending to the different areas of competence and responsibility, in predicting and planning actions to prevent and mitigate risks. The centre of this process is the involvement of technical-scientific community, through the network of functional centers – which carry out on a daily basis, at central and regional levels, predicting, monitoring, surveillance and alert activities- and the competence centers, structures that perform research or provide services of technical and scientific nature for civil protection purposes. Municipalities, provinces and prefectures are dedicated also to the update of emergency plans, indispensable tools of prevention, based on regional and national guidelines and addresses. The individual citizen, as a component of the National Service, plays an important role in the prevention of risks. The everyday activities of spreading knowledge and awareness of civil protection among the population have the main goal of simply just building a more and more aware and prepared citizen.
In emergency. When an event affects a territory, the Mayor - the only authority of civil protection within the National Service - has the task of ensuring emergency assistance to the population, coordinating the local operational structures on the basis of the municipal emergency plans (" a " type event). If the means and resources available to the municipality are not sufficient to deal with the emergency , the Province, the Prefecture - Territorial Offices of the government, and the Region will intervene and activate the available resources on the territories under their jurisdiction (" b " type event). In more serious situations, upon request of the regional government, the national level takes over, with the declaration of a state of emergency ("c “type event): the President of the Council of Ministers is in charge of intervention coordination, operating through the Department of Civil Protection. It such cases the National Service is involved with all its components and operational structures.
L'attività di previsione punta a identificare gli scenari di rischio e, quando possibile, a preannunciare, monitorare, sorvegliare e a vigilare in tempo reale gli eventi e i livelli di rischio attesi.
L'attività di soccorso consiste negli interventi di prima assistenza alle popolazioni colpite da calamità
L'attività di prevenzione punta a evitare, o ridurre al minimo, i danni in caso di calamità. Sono strumenti di prevenzione: l'allertamento, la pianificazione d'emergenza, la formazione, la diffusione della conoscenza di protezione civile, l'informazione alla popolazione e l'applicazione della normativa tecnica.
Overcoming an emergency consists of all necessary steps to remove obstacles to the resumption of normal life conditions