27 ottobre 2022

Sisma dello Stretto exercise 2022

Seismic and tsunami risk exercise in Calabria and Sicily 

Logo sisma stretto

From November 4 to 6, Calabria and Sicily Regions are leading the " Sisma dello Stretto 2022" exercise, to test the operational response of the National Civil Protection Service to a seismic event, in a high-risk area. The coordination of the exercise is led by the Civil Protection Department, together with the regions involved and the Prefectures of Reggio Calabria and Messina. Many components and operational structures are participating in the exercise, and the Department's competence centers play a key role by providing technical and scientific support to the activities.

The historical reference event for the exercise scenario is the earthquake that struck the Strait of Messina area on January 16, 1975, with epicenter in the Reggio Calabria hinterland. For the emergency management response, the magnitude of the event was increased significantly during the simulation (from ML=4.7 to ML= 6), which can also trigger landslides, liquefaction and tsunami events.
The exercise scenarios involve 37 municipalities in the Province of Reggio Calabria and in Gioia Tauro, where the port is an entry point for emergency responders, and 19 municipalities in the Province of Messina.

The exercise consists of a real "test" involving the actual deployment of resources at the national and local levels in a whole range of civil protection activities. A part of activities involves "command posts," remote locations for the verification of communication between operational centers activated at different territorial levels. Special observers of these activities are representatives of foreign consulates in Italy visiting the exercise sites.  

During the Sisma dello Stretto 2022" a new experimentation of the national IT-alert public warning system is envisaged to inform, through the sending of instant notifications on mobile phones, citizens living, working or in transit in the coastal municipalities involved in the exercise about the possible arrival of tsunami as a result of the simulated earthquake.

To make the exercise scenario realistic, the reference is the earthquake that occurred on January 16, 1975 in the Strait of Messina area, for which, being a recent event, both instrumental epicentral parameters and reliable macroseismic indications are available. 

This event had a magnitude oscillating between an instrumental value of ML=4.7 and an equivalent value of Mw =5.3. The instrumental epicenter was located about 5 km from the coast, in the hinterland of Reggio Calabria, while the macroseismic epicenter was located in the city of Reggio Calabria. The depth was estimated at 20 km. A total of about 90 localities sustained damage in 1975, including 30 (10 municipalities on the Sicilian coast and 20 municipalities in the Reggio Calabria area) with serious damage, representing 25%-50% of homes and about 10% collapse. Several landslides occurred in the area after the earthquake, causing disruptions to provincial roads.

For the "Sisma dello Stretto 2022" exercise, the 1975 earthquake was replicated with a local magnitude raised to ML = 6 (corresponding to a magnitude Mw = 6.2), to simulate the triggering of ground-based environmental effects such as landslides, liquefaction and tsunami events after underwater landslides. Considering the increase in magnitude, the picture of macroseismic effects and the damage simulated with the Civil Protection Department's SIGE application has grown considerably. 

According to the simulations performed in the National Tsunami Warning System by the INGV, the potential tsunami event generated by the earthquake would result in the issuance of the Orange alert level, indicating that the coasts of those regions could be affected by tsunami waves with a height of less than 0.5 meters and/or with a run-up of less than 1 meter (run-up is defined as the maximum topographic height reached by the tsunami wave during its ingression relative to the mean sea level). Coastal areas to be preemptively evacuated are defined in the flood maps prepared by ISPRA, where "warning zone 1" is associated with the Orange alert level.

  • Presidenza del Consiglio dei ministri – Dipartimento della protezione Civile
  • Prefettura - Ufficio Territoriale del Governo di Reggio Calabria
  • Prefettura - Ufficio Territoriale del Governo di Messina
  • Dipartimento regionale della Protezione Civile - Regione Calabria
  • Dipartimento Regionale della Protezione Civile - Regione Siciliana
  • Comune di Reggio Calabria
  • Comune di Messina
  • Città Metropolitana di Reggio Calabria
  • Città Metropolitana di Messina
  • Comuni della provincia di Reggio Calabria
  • Comuni della provincia di Messina
  • Commissione Nazionale per la Previsione e Prevenzione dei Grandi Rischi (CGR)
  • Dipartimento Vigili del Fuoco, del Soccorso Pubblico e della Difesa Civile
  • VVF - Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco
  • Comando Operativo di Vertice Interforze (COVI) – Esercito Italiano- Marina Militare- Aeronautica Militare
  • Polizia di Stato
  • Polizia Penitenziaria Dipartimento dell'Amministrazione Penitenziaria - Ministero della Giustizia
  • Comando Generale dell'Arma dei Carabinieri
  • Comando Generale della Guardia di Finanza
  • Comando Generale delle Capitanerie di porto 
  • Ministero della Salute - Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale di Reggio Calabria e Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale di Messina (ASP)
  • Commissione Protezione Civile con il coinvolgimento delle Regioni e Province Autonome
  • Regione Campania
  • Regione Marche
  • Enti Locali UPI
  • Enti Locali ANCI
  • Organizzazioni nazionali di Volontariato di Protezione Civile (CNVPC)
  • Croce Rossa Italiana (CRI)
  • Corpo Nazionale di Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (CNSAS)
  • Ministero degli affari esteri e della cooperazione internazionale
  • Ministero delle infrastrutture e della mobilità sostenibili e Direzione generale per le dighe, le infrastrutture idriche ed elettriche
  • Ministero della Cultura
  • ENAV Ente Nazionale Assistenza Volo
  • ENAC Ente Nazionale per l'Aviazione Civile
  • ANAS S.p.A.
  • ASPI - Autostrade per l'Italia S.p.A.
  • Gruppo FS Italiane
  • Viabilità Italia
  • GSE - Gestore Servizi Energetici
  • ENEL
  • ENI
  • SNAM
  • 2i Rete Gas
  • Italgas
  • RAI Pubblica Utilità
  • Poste Italiane S.p.A.
  • TIM
  • WindTre S.p.A.
  • Iliad
  • Banca d’Italia
  • UNEM
  • Utilitalia
  • STN – Struttura Tecnica Nazionale dei Consigli Nazionali dei Professionisti tecnici
  • Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV)
  • Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA)
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e Geoingegneria e Istituto di Metodologie per l’Analisi Ambientale (CNR-IGAG e IMAA)
  • Centro Europeo di Formazione e Ricerca in Ingegneria Sismica (EUCENTRE)
  • Fondazione CIMA - Centro Internazionale in Monitoraggio Ambientale
  • Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)
  • Università della Calabria - Cartografia Ambientale e Modellistica Idrologica (UNICAL-CAMILAB)
  • Consiglio Nazionale dei Geologi - Ordine dei Geologi della Calabria e della Sicilia
  • ReLuis – Rete dei laboratori universitari di ingegneria sismica
  • Popolazione presente nei comuni interessati che volontariamente decide di partecipare all’esercitazione

November 4 is the day of the seismic event and is dedicated to the activation of local and national coordination centers and the performance of the first local operational scenarios managed at the territorial level.

  • 10:00 AM Ingv reports the seismic event to the Department of Civil Protection; SiAM then issues the tsunami alert and the Department sends the IT-alert message. Local activities start. 
  • 1:00 AM The Civil Protection Operations Committee meets.16:00 DICOMAC-Direction of Command and Control in Reggio Calabria is established and activities start. 
  • 8:00 PM The activities of the first day end.

November 5 is the day for the execution of "natonal" operational scenarios in the Provinces of Reggio Calabria and Messina. The DICOMAC continue to carry out coordination activities in the territory.

  • 8:00 AM Activities begin in DICOMAC. 
  • During the day, activities in DICOMAC and operational scenarios take place.
  • 8:00 PM Activities in DICOMAC are closed.

November 6 is dedicated to debriefing activities.

  • 9:00 AM Debriefing begins
  • 12:00 PM Activities end  

The general objectives of the exercise include testing the national intervention model set forth in the Prime Minister's Directive of January 14, 2014 on the "National Seismic Risk Relief Program" (PNSRS). Specifically, the test concerns the operation of the national organizational structure for emergency management through the activities of the Civil Protection Operations Committee and the establishment of a national coordination structure DICOMAC (Directorate of Command and Control) in Reggio Calabria.

The exercise is also an opportunity to check the state of implementation of the PNSRS in the Calabria and Sicily Regions, with particular regard to the Provinces of Reggio Calabria and Messina, also to assess the possible need to proceed with an update of the document.

Another strategic purpose of the exercise is the implementation, verification and subsequent updating of existing civil protection planning, in light of the provisions of the recent "Guidelines for the preparation of civil protection plans at different territorial levels" of April 30, 2021. In these Guidelines, with regard to civil protection exercises, is reiterated the importance of:

  • promote the verification and updating of civil protection planning at the different territorial levels, also with reference to tsunami risk planning;
  • verify the validity of organizational and intervention models at the different territorial levels;
  • promote the dissemination of knowledge of the plans' contents by all the parties involved and in particular the population.

The possible tsunami forecast during the "Sisma dello Stretto 2022" exercise is an opportunity to test again IT-alert, the Public Alert System, currently under test, to inform the population.

IT-alert, using the cell broadcast technology broadcasts information messages to mobile phones in a specific geographic area in case of imminent or ongoing major emergencies or catastrophic events.  An initial test of the System was conducted on the island of Vulcano during the Vulcano 2022 exercise.

A second test of the System is scheduled for Friday, November 4, following the issuance of the National Tsunami Warning System - SiAM's Orange Alert for possible tsunami risk as a result of the simulated seismic event. Citizens of 22 municipalities on the Calabrian and Sicilian coasts interested by the alert receive alert messages on their mobile phones, characterized by a different sound from the usual ones and introduced by the disclaimer "CIVIL PROTECTION EXERCISE." The first notification contains information about the event and refers to https://www.it-alert.it/it/  for more details, and the second confirms the end of the test. This is the text of the first message:

Civil Protection EXERCISE -  ALERT
message for a possible TSUNAMI triggered by an earthquake
with epicenter in Reggio Calabria. Information on the exercise available at www.it-alert.it

When the message appears on the display of the reached devices, it is no longer possible to perform actions on the cell phone, except for phone calls. The cell phone returns to normal functionality by tapping the "OK" button within the message. It is important to know that all the mobile phones of citizens, turned on and with coverage, who are physically present at the time of sending the messages in the area chosen for the alarm branching are reached by IT-alert, and also people only in transit.

The IT-alert system is currently in the experimental stage. Exercises such as "Sisma dello Stretto 2022" are essential, thanks to the feedback that allow us to verify, improve and implement the system with the aim of making it operational in the short time possible. For this purpose, at the time of the exercise, on the website dedicated to the IT-alert System, those who have been reached by the message can fill out a form to assess its effectiveness and understanding.

Part of the exercise activities are training activities involving the components and operational structures of the territory, according to a program defined by the Civil Protection Department in agreement with the interested Regions and Prefectures-UTG. This program has been developed in the weeks preceding the exercise scenarios and is aimed at beginning/consolidating both theoretical and operational notions functional for the best conduct of the exercise and the improvement of knowledge in support of civil protection activities. Recipients of the courses in the affected area: mayors, staff of municipal administrations, UTG Prefectures and Police Forces, officials and volunteers specialized in the preservation of Cultural Heritage, technical geologists working in public administration, caregivers of people with fragility, volunteers and health workers, people belonging to professional associations.

With the aim of triggering virtuous processes of development of local civil protection activities, after the exercise it is planned to organize two territorial workshops, in agreement with the Sicilian Region and the Calabria Region. The objective of these additional training and comparison moments is to outline, with the municipalities already involved in the exercise, multi-year strategic plans of municipal and/or supra-municipal level aimed at improving and consolidating the standards of the local civil protection service.

The "Civil Protection Code," Legislative Decree No. 1/2018, introduces the participatory planning that allows the municipal administration to start an organized discussion process with the population when drafting or updating the Civil Protection Plan.

In the exercise, the participatory planning activity is carried out through the involvement of the municipality of Bagnara Calabra (RC) and the population residing in the municipality. The Department of Civil Protection, the Calabria Region and the Cima Foundation are supporting the administration in this process. The proposed activity aims to consolidate the trust relationship between the population and the civil protection authorities responsible for emergency planning and management, and to define the best practices for supporting municipal participatory planning.
Bagnara Calabra is one of 12 municipalities on the Calabrian coast (joined by 10 municipalities on the Messina coast) whose population receives, on November 4, the IT-alert message for the possible tsunami risk included in the exercise scenario. Receiving and understanding the message is among the activities planned as part of the participatory planning project.

The topic of disability is also a particular focus in the pathway, which, while it may represent a social vulnerability, can also encourage and ease local resilience through the development of support networks and the strengthening of community spirit.
The participatory planning project kicks off during the organizing activities of the exercise and then continues in the next few months.  In particular, the first meetings were held on October 25 and 26 with specific population groups that the municipality has identified as strategic interest groups for civil protection planning: the world of associations, schools, and fishermen's cooperatives.

In the territories involved in the exercise, there are five "special" squares where the national "I don't take risks" campaign takes place. In particular, trained volunteers from the Calabria and Sicily regions will meet citizens in Messina, Reggio Calabria, Bova Marina and Bagnara Calabra on Saturday, November 5, to give information on earthquake and tsunami risks.

In Reggio Calabria, from November 3 to December 3, the Falcomatà waterfront will host the "Terremoti d'Italia" exhibition, an exhibition space created by the Department of Civil Protection with the aim of raising awareness on earthquake risk. The exhibition is divided into several areas that present the physical phenomenon, the tools used to measure its strength, the main tricks to make your home safer, and the behaviors to adopt before, during and after risk situations. Completing the exhibition are two simulators that reproduce seismic movement, where visitors can safely experience the earthquake and observe its effects up close. One of the five "special" I don't take Risks squares is set up inside the exhibition.

In the first phase, immediately after the earthquake event, the Civil Protection Operational Committee, activated at the Department of Civil Protection, operates at the national level. The Operational Committee makes use of the Italy Situation and Territory Monitoring Room (SISTEMA) to acquire information from the area affected by the event and to maintain constant links with other national, regional and local operational rooms. At SISTEMA there is also a liaison with the European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC).

To support and complement the activations of the territorial levels, a Command and Control Directorate-DICOMAC in the affected territory (set up in Reggio Calabria for the Strait Earthquake exercise) is established by the Department, in agreement with the affected Regions, to manage national coordination. The regions manage their own resources, based on information acquired from provincial and municipal administrations and their operational centers, through their Regional Operations Rooms. At the provincial level, the Relief Coordination Centers (CCS) in Reggio Calabria and Messina define the strategy for emergency operations, which they communicate to their respective Area Coordination Centers* (CCAs) and Mixed Operations Centers (COMs) in support of operations coordinated by the Municipal Operations Centers (COCs) activated by the Mayors of the municipalities involved.

* CCAs-Area Coordination Centers are provided only in the Calabria Region.

During the exercise, the Regional Radio Networks in the involved territory are activated to ensure communications between the various activated coordination centers. In addition, the response of the national emergency telecommunications system is tested through the use of the National Radio Network (NRN), TLC modules (ad hoc setup of technological services with qualified personnel), the HF Radio Network.

A working area is set up in Reggio Calabria, at the "former 208 barracks"," to simulate urgent technical rescue activities. In this area is tested the activity of searching for and recovering a person from the rubble using techniques derived from Speleo Alpinistica Fluviale and of rescuing a person with motor disabilities.

In Messina, in the Former Margherita Hospital complex, a working area is set up for the simulation of search and rescue activities in an urban scenario (USAR - Urban Search And Rescue) using canine units of the Guardia di Finanza and fire brigade teams. Also in the City of Messina, urgent technical rescue activity is simulated at night following a train accident caused by a train crash in the Peloritani railway tunnel.

In Reggio Calabria, a working area is dedicated to the simulation of Cultural Heritage recovery and securing operations at the National Museum of Reggio Calabria and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta in Cielo, thanks to the coordination between the Regional Secretariat of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Regional Directorate of the Fire Department.  Activities to secure the Church of St. George are simulated in Reggio Calabria too.

In Messina, a team composed of firefighters, Carabinieri Nucleus for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, municipal personnel and volunteers removes and secures artifacts of historic and artistic interest found inside Fort San Salvatore.

During the exercise, a staging area is set up in Campo Calabro, Italy, as a base camp for firefighters, and a staging area is set up in Reggio Calabria, Italy, to house volunteer rescue workers. Also in Calabria, in Bova Marina, a reception area is set up for the population affected by the event, by the mobile columns of the Calabria and Campania Regions. In this area, the DESIGNA System is activated to organize the reception of the population and the fragile population with Svei card is surveyed. Instead, in Messina, at San Filippo Palarescifina, the following are set up: a stacking area designed to host firefighters and civil protection volunteers and a reception area for the population, set up by the Sicilian Region and the Municipality of Messina. In the latter, activities to assist the vulnerable population with SVEI card are being tested.

During the exercise activities, the activation of regional mobile columns is tested by command stations. In particular, in the Province of Reggio Calabria, in Bova Marina, the actual arrival of the Mobile Column of the Campania Region is planned, alongside the Mobile Column of the Calabria Region, while in Sicily the provincial mobile columns of the Sicilian region twinned with the municipalities of Messina are activated. The Mobile Column of the Marche Region is also involved with the actual deployment of the Telecommunications module at the population reception area set up in Palarescifina (ME).

Geologists from the regional professional orders of Calabria and Sicily are carrying out technical inspections in the Reggio Calabria area to verify earthquake-related disruptions on the provincial and municipal road network and for technical checks in the area of Capo Peloro (ME) following the tsunami. In the Province of Reggio Calabria, inspections are planned to verify the suitability of areas in which SAE-Emergency Housing Solutions and temporary school facilities would be set up.

It is planned in several municipalities in the two regions to install instrumentation useful for the RAN-DPC network to record the territory's response to the earthquake and the OSS-DPC network to monitor publicly owned buildings.

In the Municipality of Milazzo, personnel from the Department of Civil Protection, the Sicilian Region, the Fire Department, the refinery and the local Port Authority are experimenting with the management of a Natech accident, that is, a technological accident in an industrial plant due to seismic and tidal event.

Concerning the event scenario, the managers of the individual infrastructures (ANAS, CAS - Consorzio Autostrade Siciliane, RFI) apply the procedures that provide for the blocking of the road system and the start of theàt expeditious verifications, the results of which must be made available within a few hours. Following the first assessments, it is possible to determine whether the transit of emergency vehicles in the area is allowed or to evaluate the designation of alternative access routes. In the meantime, the National Fire Department is providing for the identification and delimitation of red zones in the affected territories. In particular, the red zone in the Municipality of Reggio Calabria will be defined during the exercise.

A Messina, il coordinamento delle attività di assistenza sanitaria e la gestione di evacuazioni mediche (MEDEVAC) è assicurato con mezzi e locali di bordo della nave Etna. Sempre in Sicilia, la nave Diciotti della Guardia Costiera si occupa del trasporto della Colonna Mobile Regionale del Corpo nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco dal porto di Milazzo al porto di Messina per aggirare le potenziali criticità che potrebbero verificarsi sulla viabilità stradale e consentire un celere intervento dei soccorritori. In prossimità del tratto di mare nel comune di Letojanni, viene simulata infine l’attività di recupero di un naufrago da parte della Nucleo Subacquei della Guardia Costiera con successivo elitrasporto.

For the exercise activities in both Reggio Calabria and Messina, remote monitoring of the water surfaces and coastal areas affected by the potential tsunami is planned to avert any form of pollution as a result of infrastructure damage. In addition, sea rescue activities are simulated through the deployment of Costal Guards naval units in areas near the coast potentially affected by the tsunami.

Specifically, in Reggio Calabria, the transfer of the Campania Region's mobile column from the port of Gioia Tauro to the port of Reggio Calabria is simulated by boarding the ship San Marco/San Giusto. The Ship Ticino is used to supply drinking water to the local water service. In the port of Villa San Giovanni, coordination of rescue activities and transportation of passengers (particularly those on board the FSI ferry damaged as a result of the effects of the tsunami) is organized. In Messina, coordination of medical assistance activities and management of medical evacuations (MEDEVAC) is provided by means and premises on board the ship Etna. Also in Sicily, the Coast Guard ship Diciotti is in charge of transporting the Regional Mobile Column of the National Fire Department from the port of Milazzo to the port of Messina to circumvent potential critical issues that could occur on the road system and allow for speedy intervention by rescuers. Finally, in the vicinity of the stretch of sea in the municipality of Letojanni, the activity of recovering a shipwrecked person by the Coast Guard's Diving Unit with subsequent helicopter transport is simulated.