International Volunteer Day
Since 1985, the United Nations has dedicated December 5 to this extraordinary world, to which civil protection volunteering belongs
"Solidarity through Volunteering" is the theme of the United Nations for International Volunteer Day, held every year, since 1985 on December 5. The aim of the 2022 campaign is to highlight the power of this extraordinary force to drive positive change in the community.
Civil protection voluntary work plays a special role in the world of volunteering, a huge community of people that over the years has become an organized, trained and prepared reality, embracing many fields and many specializations: from rescue and health care to the protection of cultural heritage, from setting up reception areas to forest firefighting, from telecommunications to psychological support.
Today there are thousands of organizations, each with its own identity and specializations, capable of operating free and fast in case of need, but also daily committed to risk forecasting and prevention activities on the field.
"A bridge between institutions and citizens: this is what civil protection volunteers are in our country," said the Head of Department Fabrizio Curcio. " Wherever an emergency strikes, when civil protection volunteers arrive, the community immediately perceives they are not being forgotten and that the community can rely on volunteers driven by a huge spirit of solidarity, but also on an inexhaustible, competent and structured force. The year 2022 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of our National Civil Protection Service, where the volunteers represent a real highlight. A full-fledged operational structure that both in ordinary and during crisis situations, works side by side with all other forces in the country, as is happening in these days on the island of Ischia, hit by the disastrous landslide."
The civil protection voluntary work is one of the operational structures of the National Civil Protection Service, and is a world characterized by many associative forms that include both national organizations, with a central coordinating structure and a network of sections throughout the territory, local associations and municipal groups.
To participate in forecasting, prevention and intervention activities in the event of calamitous events and to carry out training and educational activities, civil protection volunteer organizations must be registered in the national list, which is divided into: a central list- in which, today, there are 60 national organizations - and one that collects the territorial lists held by Regions and Autonomous Provinces, in which thousands of local associations and groups are registered.
To become a civil protection volunteer, the first step is to register with a volunteer organization on the national list.
From 1966, with the "mud angels" - the forerunners of civil protection volunteers - who voluntarily brought their support to the citizens of Florence affected by the flood, to today so much has changed.
However, other challenges will come: this is what 320 delegates from national organizations, local associations, and municipal groups discussed last June as they gathered for four days for the Stati Generali, ten years after the last edition.
One central theme concerns the ability to involve young people: thanks to the valuable knowledge, experience and skills present within the organizations, new generations will become the new volunteers, of today and tomorrow. This will ensure the operational continuity of volunteer organizations and the support they are able to offer to the National Civil Protection System.
The future will see civil protection volunteers more integrated not only in emergency situations but also in prevention activities, in Italy and internationally, a protagonist in risk communication to involve citizens spread good civil protection practices.