5 aprile 2022

Vulcano exercise 2022

The exercise takes place on the island of Vulcano from April 7 to 9, 2022. First test of the It-alert system during the exercise

Logo esercitazione Vulcano 2022

"Vulcano 2022" is a full-scale national exercise held on the Island of Vulcano from 7 to 9 April 2022, with the aim of testing " on site" the "National Civil Protection Plan for volcanic risk on Vulcano Island" of December 7, 2021.

The exercise is organized by the Department of Civil Protection together with the Regional Department of Civil Protection of the Sicilian Region, the Prefecture - Territorial Office of the Government of Messina and the Municipality of Lipari (Me), with the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and other Centres of Competence (CNR-IREA, CNR IGAG, University of Florence).

The exercise will also test for the first time It-alert, the public alert system that informs the population in real time. Through this system, mobile phones in a given geographical area receive information messages regarding major upcoming or ongoing emergencies or disasters. The message will be sent to everyone in the area affected by the emergency, through the cell broadcast system and will contain information about the risk scenario and the self-protection measures to adopt.

Vulcano is the southest of the seven islands that make up the Aeolian archipelago, with an extension of 22 square kilometers and an altitude of 500m above sea level (Monte Aria). Since 1890 the volcano is quiescent and shows an intense activity of gas and steam emission at high temperature from the crater of La Fossa and near the Porto di Levante.

The island has an complex morphology because of the interchange of constructive phases with effusive or explosive eruptions of low energy, and destructive phases with strong explosive eruptions.

The cone consists of two eruptive centers active in ancient times, the cone of La Fossa and Vulcanello and represents the emerged part of a volcanic apparatus with a base 900-1,000m below sea level.

The cone of La Fossa has a regular shape, rises about 400m above sea level and is formed by alternating lava flows and tuffs erupted from the volcano in the last 6 thousand years. It is surrounded by a series of crater edges of different ages. The crater resulted from the last explosive eruption of 1888-90 with a diameter of 600m. The bottom of the crater has an altitude of 210m above sea level.

The more recent structure is the peninsula of Vulcanello in the north east end of the island, and consists of a circular lava platform with a diameter of about 1.4 km, surrounded by three pyroclastic cones that overlap partially.

Starting from September 2021, the monitoring system of INGV and other Centers of Competence has recorded an increase in the concentration and temperature of volcanic gases, an expansion of the emission areas, an increase in the frequency of mild earthquakes and a ground uplift of the crater area. In view of this change in parameters, the Department of Civil Protection, following the opinion of the Major Risks Commission - Volcanic Risk Sector and in agreement with the Sicilian Region, on October 1 2021 ordered the passage to the yellow alert level. 

The level of yellow alert foresees operational actions as a result of the strengthening of monitoring activities and volcanic surveillance by the Centers of Competence, the constant coordination between the scientific community and the other components and operational structures of the National Service of Civil Protection and the updating of civil protection plans at the various territorial levels.

The exercise will simulate, starting from 7 April, the gradual change in the monitoring parameters of the volcano so as to determine a passage from the current state of activity defined by the yellow alert level and the operational phase of attention, to the next, scheduled for 8 April, characterized by the transition to the orange alert level and the activation of the operational phase of pre-alarm. Saturday, April 9 is planned to switch to red alert level and, on the basis of technical and operational assessments, the activation of the operational phase of the alarm with the required actions to remove all the population present on the island.

On April 9, following the indications of the municipal planning of civil protection, through the paths of removal, people will reach the port of Levante or the molo di Gelso. The population will be then boarded on the ferries operating in agreement with the Sicilian Region and on the vehicles of the operating structures. On board, the population will attend a moment of information and discussion on the exercise themes and then land in the same pier.

The public alert system It-alert will be tested during the exercise, the first time in Italy, with the sending of messages containing information on the exercise activity in progress and on the rules of conduct to be followed. At the end of the exercise, a second message will be sent to inform that the exercise activities are over.

Preparatory activities are also planned as part of "Vulcano 2022" through specific meetings with administrators and municipal technicians and the population, scheduled for April 6.

The main objectives of the exercise are

  • check several features contained in the national civil protection plan and in the territorial plans with particular attention to the activities of population removal, which through the removal routes reach the meeting areas of the port of Levante or molo di Gelso, test the embarkation and disembarkation from the ships of the operational structures and the shipping companies;
  • verify the responsiveness and effectiveness of the emergency management systems at municipal level and their integration with the provincial and regional coordination system, with particular reference to the Removal Plan;
  • increase the awareness of agencies, operating structures, volunteers and citizenship on issues of civil protection, including planning and volcanic risk;
  • realize and install the civil protection signals provided by the National Civil Protection Plan for the volcanic risk on the island of Vulcano;
  • test the It-alert public alarm system by sending messages using cell broadcast technology. The messages will be received by the mobile phones present in the area and will provide information on the simulated event and the rules of conduct to adopt; 
  • verify the procedures for the dissemination of surveillance and monitoring documents and communications for civil protection purposes, and the activities aimed at assessing and declaring the alert level.

The National Civil Protection Plan for the volcanic risk on the island of Vulcano* has been prepared by the Department of Civil Protection in collaboration with the Regional Department of Civil Protection of the Sicilian Region, the Prefecture-Territorial Office of the Government of Messina and the Municipality of Lipari between the months of October and November 2021.

The document describes the main activities to implement in case of national level of coordination of the National Service of Civil Protection to deal with volcanic events on the island of Vulcano. These activities are integrated with the activities foreseen by the Municipal, Provincial and Regional Civil Protection Plans.

In particular, the National Plan provides for instructions allowing:

  • the activation of procedures for the declaration of operational phases (attention, pre-alarm and alarm) and the implementation of the consequent actions; 
  • the removal of the population from the island of Vulcano; 
  • the management of communication and information activities to the population

The Plan includes the following annexes: 
Annex 1 - Alert Levels 
Annex 2 - Maritime accessibility 
Annex 3 - Air accessibility 
Annex 4 - Radio coverage "DPC-Eolie2". 
Annex 5 - Civil protection signals for Vulcano Island 

The National Plan and the territorial plans are tested during the national exercise Vulcano 2022 held from 7 to 9 April 2022.

The National Plan for volcanic risk on the island of Vulcano*, pending the adoption measure, was formally shared on December 7, 2021 with: the Civil Protection Operational Committee, Sicilian Region, Prefecture of Messina, Municipality of Lipari and National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology- Ingv. The document has also been shared with the National Commission major risks.