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The history of civil protection volunteering

 

The history of civil protection volunteering

The voluntary service developed in Italy in the seventies and eighties as the result of citizens’ need to contribute to the construction of the common good, undertaking to spend part of their free time doing socially useful activities.

Public Administration has, over the years, used volunteers as a tool at the disposal of Italy to provide response integrated with public services, in particular for socio-health and assistance services.

In the field of civil protection, the first organic law after the war that mentions volunteering is no. 996/70, following the flooding of Florence. This accepted the possibility of occasional spontaneous volunteers like the “Angels of Mud”, as they were known, to take part in relief operations and to be registered in a list at the Prefettura.

Italian law 225/92 – constitution of the Civil Protection National Service – recognises organised and non-occasional voluntary work and assigns it the role of “component” (art. 6) and of “operating unit” of the National Service (art. 11) ensuring (art. 18) its involvement in any Civil Protection activity, with approval of dedicated regulations. At that time, the State tended to refer above all to the big organisations with which it collaborated for national coordination in the sector.

The development of small groups and associations as part of local administration led to expansion of specialisations and to integration of civil protection voluntary work with the public service.

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