Competences of the Department
The Department of Civil Protection is a structure of the Prime Minister’s Office and has the function of coordinating and directing the National Service of Civil Protection and when a national emergency is declared, it coordinates the relief of the whole system.
It is involved in international interventions, within the European Civil Protection Mechanism or according to bilateral agreements, and promotes initiatives and programmes to improves risk forecast and prevention.
The Department of Civil Protection, in collaboration with regional governments and local autonomous bodies, orients, organises and coordinates civil protection projects and activities.
It coordinates activities in response to natural disasters, catastrophes or other events - "c” type events - which, due to their intensity and extent, must be tackled using special means and powers. In this case, the Prime Minister declares a state of emergency with a decree and identifies, through orders, the actions to be undertaken to manage the event.
On an operational level, the Civil Protection Department:
• issues guidelines, aimed at regions, provinces and municipalities, to prepare and implement prediction and prevention programmes in relation to various risk scenarios;
• prepares and implements emergency plans for type “c” events, in agreement with the pertinent regions and local organisations;
• intervenes, at the request of the regional authorities, in extinguishing forest fires using the State aircraft fleet.
It organises periodical drills for national emergency plans, with the objective of verifying the effectiveness of emergency plans and testing out procedures for managing disasters on facilities and the population.
It also promotes information activities for national scenarios, in collaboration with other institutions and associations, as well as training and research activities regarding the prediction and prevention of natural and manmade risks. The training activities, organised in close collaboration with national organisations, are aimed at voluntary organisations, at the “competent territorial bodies”, namely regions, provinces, mountain communities and municipalities, as well as schools.
Acting within the Department is the National Functional Centre, which gathers data from the Regional Functional Centres and the Centres of Competence, used to monitor phenomena nationwide, and the coordination centre System, in the National Operations Room. The Department is also where COAU - the Unified Air Operations Centre, and COEMM - the Operations Centre for Maritime Emergencies, both operate.