Update of the National Emergency Plan for Vesuvius


From 2003 till now

2003 - Reconstitution of the National Commission
2006 - Mesimex International Exercise on Mount Vesuvius
2007/2008 - Changes made to the Plan
2012 -The new scenario for the National Plan
2012 - Alert levels for the new plan
2012/2013 - Training activities on volcanic risk in the Vesuvius area
2013/2014 - Definitive delimitation of the red zone and twinnings
2014 - Training activities in the Vesuvius and Phlegrean Fields areas
2015 - New yellow zone and addresses to operating components and structures for the red zone 
2016 - Publication of the resolution of the President of Council that officialises the yellow zone
2016/2017 - Presentation of the Plan to evacuate people from the red zone
2017/2018 – Intervention model to activate in case of yellow, orange or red alert 

2003 - Reconstitution of the National Commission. The first National Emergency Plan for Vesuvius was drafted in 1995 by two national commissions, set up in 1991 and 1993, to assess the risk involved in the Vesuvius eruption and plan the response to any emergency. In 2001, the "Additions and Variations" in different sections of the Plan were approved. In 2002, a National Commission is reconstituted with the goal of having an ordinary instrument for the continuous updating of the planning and the Head of the Department of Civil Protection, by decree no.698 of 6 March 6 2003, he appoints the members. In particular, the Working Group made up of experts in volcanic risk is entrusted with the revision of the scenarios and levels of alert for a national emergency.

2006 - Mesimex International Exercise on Mount Vesuvius. A first test of the activities carried out by the new Commission was organized in 2006, with the international exercise Mesimex - SIMulation Major Emergency Exercise - a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius was simulated to test and improve emergency procedures, including 'evacuation of the inhabitants of the towns in the red zone. The Civil Protection Department coordinated the exercise that involved four EU member states - France, Spain, Portugal and Sweden, testing their ability to respond within the European Civil Protection Mechanism. In particular, during the exercise, the viability plan for the Vesuvius area has been tested. The plan was prepared in 2006 by the Civil Protection Department, in collaboration with Hydraulics Traffic and Transport Department of La Sapienza University of Rome, which set out the main evacuation routes from towns in the red zone in case of eruption.

2007/2008 – Changes made to the Plan. Following the exercise, some changes to the National Plan of emergency for the area of Vesuvius were introduced in 2001, shared at a meeting of 23 April 2007 by the Civil Protection Department, Vesuvius Observatory Ingv Region Campania, Prefecture - Utg and the Province of Naples. The changes introduced were not made official in the updated document because in 2006 it was already in the activities of the group, responsible for defining the new scenario, which would have formed the basis for a comprehensive review of the Plan. In particular, during the meeting the following were confirmed: a sub-Plinian eruption as a reference event, the definition of red zone established in 2001, the three levels of warning before an eruption - attention, pre-alarm, alarm. On the other hand, the need to redefine the yellow area, i.e. the area subject to the fallout of ashes and lapilli, and the blue area, potentially subject to flooding and flooding, as well as to the fallout of ashes and lapilli, was highlighted. With regard to the operational measures envisaged in the Plan, twinning was confirmed between Vesuvian municipalities and Italian regions for the hospitality of the evacuated population. Evacuation of health care facilities and launching initiatives to safeguard the cultural heritage are now again considered part of the pre-alarm phase, whereas the alarm phase includes the evacuation of the red zone within 72 hours and no more than 7 days, as provided in the Plan of 2001. What emerged was the importance of redefining how the evacuation of the population would be carried out, according to the measurements in the Traffic Plan. In particular, the evacuation has been organized in two phases: the first one provides for the displacement of the population in areas of first aid immediately outside the area at risk (red and yellow zones), and a second one which provides for the transfer in the twinned regions . The means chosen for evacuation are road transport, and other means (trains and ships) are kept as a strategic reserve. 

(The Traffic Plan and its attachments are available in the annex, whereas the tables relating to the Plan are not published because the files are too heavy for the website. However, they can be obtained from the Department.)

At the same meeting, lines under the responsibility of various local administrations involved were also defined, with particular reference to the population census and reception facilities and evacuation plans in detail. After the meeting, Department, Region,
Prefecture - Utg and the Province of Naple organized various meetings with municipal technicians in the red zone to agree on the plan for general traffic, accepting any additions and amendments proposed by local governments, where possible.

2012 – The new scenario for the National Plan. On 26 April 2012 the Department has received from the working group of the National Commission for the emergency plan a document regarding new scenarios and alert levels, on the basis of which the different risk zones and their operational strategies will be redefined. The document of the scenarios was submitted on 27 June 2012 for the assessment of the National Major Risks Commission - Sector Volcanic Risk that was found consistent with the most recent studies on the topic. From this moment on, the Department has initiated a series of discussions with the Campania Region to collect the information necessary for redefining the red zone, which now includes the territories of 25 municipalities in the province of Naples and Salerno. In particular, the area includes the area to be evacuated in danger of invasion by pyroclastic flows (the red 1) and the area at high risk of collapse of the roofs of the buildings for the accumulation of volcanic ash and lapilli (red zone 2) . On 19 December 2012 the new scenario was presented to municipalities in the red zone in the Vesuvian area then be shared with the national operating structures, on 11 January 2013. during an operational Committee.
The Working Group also has studied in-depth the ash fallout, using the results of several scientific works and projects, and has identified possible scenarios of reference for the definition of the yellow zone. 

The attachment “Scenario and alert levels” published on 11 January 2013 has been substituted on 6 February 2013 with a easy-reading, in colour, with a new lay out document. The number of pages has been halved, because we mistakenly duplicated the document. We specify that the content is exactly the same of the old one.
Tables and charts referred to in the document “Eruptive scenarios and alert levels” are not attached because they are too heavy. The Department can provide them to any institution upon request.

2012 – Alert levels for the new plan. The working group has decided to maintain the same level of alert in the Plan of 2001, which includes a basic level (green), a level of attention (yellow), a level of pre-alarm (orange) and a warning level (red), in accordance with the provisions of the most monitored volcanoes on our planet. The four levels of alert mark the time before a possible resumption of eruptive activity occurs. Currently, the alert level to Vesuvius is green, that is there has been no abnormal phenomenon than ordinary activity that has been characterizing the volcano for decades. The transition from one level of alert to the next corresponds to the variation of the parameters (seismicity, ground deformation, the composition of gases in fumaroles, etc..) routinely monitored, 24/7, by the monitoring system managed by the Vesuvius Observatory - Ingv and leads to a progressive increase in the probability of reactivation of the volcano eruption.
Consequently, it modulates the increasing response of the civil protection system, which culminates with the evacuation of the population present in the red zone (alarm level). The definition of specific preset thresholds, beyond which are activated "automatically" the various levels of warning, it is a complex and delicate operation. According to the findings of the Working Group for the transition from the basic level to the level of attention it is possible to establish a threshold, that is, a quantitative criterion based on overcoming the basic values of the monitored parameters: the variation of a parameter is considered significant when it exceeds the value ordinarily recorded (end value) of at least twice the value of its standard deviation (uncertainty associated with the figure). In particular, it is established that the transition to the level of attention occurs when at least two of the monitored parameters have recorded significant variations. If the change occurs only for a parameter that does not imply a change to the level of attention but activates a phase of exceptional surveillance for the entire surveillance system and the Central Functional Centre of the Department. For the higher levels of alert it is believed that the definition of predetermined thresholds involves a high probability of false and missed alarms, so the assessment should be based on an analysis of the parameters monitored in real time by experts.

2012/2013 - Training activites on volcanic risk in the Vesuvius area.The Department of Civil Protection, the Campania Region and the Vesuvius Observatory launched in late 2012 training courses on volcanic risk dedicated to municipalities, volunteers and operational structures of the Phlegraean and Vesuvius areas, and staff the Campania Region, the Prefecture and the Province of Naples. The course included two days lectures and two days dedicated to the visit of Phlegraean Fields, Vesuvius and the Vesuvius Observatory. All municipalities in the Phlegraean Fields - Bacoli, Giugliano in Campania, Marano, Pozzuoli, Quarto and Monte di Procida - have joined the initiative while in the Vesuvius area only twelve municipalities have participated in the training days: Ercolano, Massa di Somma, Nola, Poggiomarino, Pollena Trocchia, Pompei, Portici, Somma Vesuviana, Terzigno, Torre Annunziata, Torre del Greco and Pompei. About forty officials attended the edition dedicated to the staff of the Campania Region and the Municipality, Prefecture and the Province of Naples, while 30 voluntary organizations of the Vesuvius and the Phlegraean areas took part in the fourth training cycle. For 2013, there are additional editions of the updating emergency plans for the two volcanic areas.

2013/2014 – Definitive delimitation of the red zone and twinnings
In order to define the new red zone, from the perspective of sharing and collaborating with every and each involved subject in the national planning, it has been agreed that, if the municipalities were able to manage partial evacuation of their own communities, they could have propose boundaries different from the administrative ones set up by the Department (see map New scenario Vesuvius(905 Kb)"). To carry out such new boundaries, the Department imposed two conditions: that the proposed boundaries were not smaller than the ones defined by the “red zone 1”, that is the one subject to the invasion of pyroclasting flow; that the Municipalities with territories in the red zone 2 could demonstrate to have reinforces the roofing of vulnerable buildings exposed to the fall of pyroclastic deposits.
Only a few municipalities made proposals that were accepted by the Regional Committee with the 26 July 2013 decision. The new red zone  (436 Kb) was permanently approved on 14 February 2014 in the directive of the President of Council of Ministers, that received the approval of the Joint Conference on 6 February 2014.
In the same directive, to guarantee assistance to the population in the red zone, the twinning to carry out between municipalities and Regions and Autonomous Provinces in case of precautionary evacuation has been redefined.

2014 – Training activities in the Vesuvius and Phlegrean Fields areas

At the end of the year , the Department of Civil Protection and INGV-National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology have started, with the collaboration of the Regional Education Office and the Campania Region, the EDURISK project in primary and secondary schools of the red areas of Vesuvius and Phlegrean Fields. It is a training for teachers which provides specific tools to support educational planning. Among the topics covered: hazard and assessment of seismic and seismic risks; psychology and behavior in contexts of volcanic risk; risk education. A part of the training is dedicated to the presentation of the National Service of Civil Protection and Emergency Planning for Volcanic Risk.

2015 – New yellow zone and addresses to operating components and structures for the red zone

On 9 February, the Campania Region has approved the resolution with new borders of the yellow zone. This area, outside the red zone, is exposed to a significant fallout of volcanic ash and pyroclastic materials that could cause the collapse of the roof. The resolution welcomes the definition given by the Civil Protection Department, based on indications of the scientific community, and in collaboration with the Campania Region. In the same resolution, were also supplied indications for the preparation of emergency plans to municipalities in the yellow zone and also to those outside of it but still affected, although to a lesser extent, from the fallout of volcanic ash that could result, locally, other consequences (such as the clogging of sewers, the difficulty of vehicle circulation, the interruption of power lines and communications).

In addition, as required by the Directive of 14 February 2014, on 31 March 2015, the indications of the Head of Department have been published in the Official Gazette, in agreement with the Region of Campania and after consultation with the Joint Conference, addressed to the members and operating units in order to update within 4 months their emergency planning in relation to the red zone.

2016 - Publication of the resolution of the President of Council that officialises the yellow zone
On 19 January 2016 the directive of the President of the Council of Ministers which establishes the new yellow zone has been published on the Official Gazette, already approved on 9 February 2015 with directive of Campania Region. The Head of Department, in agreement with Campania Region, and the Joint Conference, provides to the components and operational structures of civil protection the indications for the update of the respective emergency plans, aiming at safeguarding the population in the yellow zone. 

2016/2017 – Presentation of the Plan to evacuate people from the red zone

The Campania Region is developing - with the support of ACaMIR - Campana Mobility Infrastructures and Networks Agency and in close connection with the Department of Civil Protection and with the managers of infrastructural networks - a Plan to manage the removal of people to be evacuated in precautionary way from the 25 municipalities of the red zone. In summary, the Plan provides for the identification of "gates" for the exit from the red zone and the assisted transport of the population in "meeting areas", identified along the main escape routes. The general strategy of the phase of transfer of the evacuated population - which will take place by bus, train or ships - from the "meeting areas" to the "first reception points", set up in the regions and autonomous twinned provinces, has already been planned. To guarantee the homogeneity of the Red Zone population transfer plans in the different regions and autonomous autonomous provinces, a working table was set up by the Department, which was attended by the bodies and companies with competence in the management of national mobility. The meeting areas, together with the transfer procedures, have been formalized with the Campania Region Resolution n. 8 of 17 January 2017.

2017/2018 – Intervention model to activate in case of yellow, orange or red alert

In conjunction with the Campania Region, the Department of Civil Protection has developed a model of intervention to be activated in case of passage from the current state of equilibrium (green) to the levels of yellow, orange and red alert, with the consequent activation of the different operating phases (attention, pre-alarm and alarm). The model defines, in particular, the organization of the National Civil Protection Service for the execution of the operational activities necessary to manage any emergencies (from the activation of the Operational Committee, to the structuring of the Di.Coma.C and the operational and coordination on the territory). This document has already been shared with the components and operational structures of civil protection and, soon, will be formalized in a specific document that will define the details.

Latest update: 31 August 2018

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