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Civil protection

The term "civil protection" means the act of protecting people, property and the environment from danger caused by natural disasters and unexpected emergencies. The primary concerns of the Civil Protection Agency are:

  • the prediction and prevention of risks
  • rescuing affected people
  • fighting and overcoming disasters

These tasks are entrusted to a national department and, in the city of Florence, to the office of the Civil Protection Agency.

The following are some tips on how to handle various emergency situations.

Risk of Snow

There are a whole series of difficulties that follow heavy and sudden snowfall. These adverse conditions, which are not always predictable, oftentimes cause extensive difficulties on large portions of land that affect everyone that relies on the area. Generally, the risk of snow is predictable and short-term.

Hydrogeological Risks

The term hydrogeological risk means the risk associated with the instability of hillsides due to their geological and geomorphological forms and as a result of environmental conditions, such as fallen rainwater. This has potential consequences for the safety of the population and on the safety services provided for the territory.
This risk is manifested through the increase in landslides due to soil erosion, which is due to environmental factors such as rainfall, especially when the events are abnormal or extreme, such as floods. Certain types of soil, especially clay, become soggy to the point that a certain amount of water can stir up action that is carried by the weight of the soil that has already become fluid.

Hydraulic Risks

Floods are among the most typical results of the hydrogeological imbalances and are caused by a watercourse that, with a higher than expected flow rate, overflows or breaks the levees above them and gets into the surrounding area. They can cause damage to buildings, industrial areas, roads, agricultural areas, etc.

Earthquake Risks

The Italian territory is located on multiple tectonic plates, which sometimes move to cause earthquakes. For this reason, the country is at high risk for these events. It should also be considered that should an earthquake hit a historic building, especially those in the historic center that date back to ancient times, there would likely be damage because these buildings were built without knowledge of earthquake-resistant construction. It is estimated, therefore, that 20 million Italians are at seismic risk.
Earthquakes are phenomena that cannot be predicted and generally are very short (sometimes tenths of a second), but can have devastating effects, which can be seen throughout history as well as today. The impossibility of foreseeing these events makes it even more necessary to have a thorough and accurate prevention plan in place.
The Department (RNSC-INGV) uses sensors to monitor every significant seismic event, even those outside of Italy. The Department also has its own network capable of monitoring stronger events (RAN-National Strong Motion Network).

Transportation Risks

The users of various modes of transportation (streets, trains, air, water, etc.) can be exposed to inconvenient or even dangerous situations based on events caused by that transportation system (accidents, traffic congestion, etc.) and adverse weather conditions (snow, fog, heavy rain, etc.).
Currently, in Italy, goods and passengers generally travel on the roads. In particular, in the last 30 years, automobile traffic on the streets has more than tripled and that trend is expected to continue.
It is a good rule that the users of the roads should find out about weather and traffic conditions that may affect their trip before embarking on it. To do this, it is advised to tune into radio stations that broadcast this information: ISORADIO, which pertains to the highways of Italy, and RAI, which transmits the news on local radio. Almost all motorway operators make traffic information available in real-time on their websites, some allow access to webcams placed on the road, and some have toll-free numbers to call. Another important source of information is the Traffic Police Operating Room and the Center of Motorway Operations, run by traffic police and road operators.

Industrial Risks

Industrial risk means the possibility that a fire, explosion or toxic cloud of dangerous substances breaks out as a result of an accident at an industrial area, which could harm the population and the environment.
These effects can be mitigated by the implementation of contingency plans, both internal (created by the industrial company to immediately address the accident) and external (created by the Civil Protection Agency to deal with potential effects to the surrounding area). These provide appropriate self-preservation measures that should be adopted by the population.
If you live in a town with industrial establishments, the mayor of your town should inform you if they are classified as an at-risk plant, in which case a plan in case of emergency should be provided to you. It is also possible to get this information on the Ministry of Environment website.

Risk of Forest Fires

The Italian forests, some of the most important in all of Europe for their size and biodiversity, are an immense help for the environment and the economy, for the balance of the land, and for the conservation of biodiversity and the landscape. However, every year we see the burning of thousands of acres of forest, many due to arson, construction, or the carelessness of people. The consequences on the natural balance are large and the time to reorganize ecosystem protection is now.

Risk of Domestic Fires

Heat Risks

The World Health Organization has evidence of climate change, in particular related to the rising temperature of the planet, which can have grave effects on the health of parts of the population that are certain ages. Summer is a particularly hazardous time for heat waves, especially in large urban areas.
Heat waves include high humidity and temperatures that are above usual levels for days or even weeks. During heat waves, it has been observed that not all urban citizens react the same way. People who are at higher health risks are the elderly and people that have chronic diseases, live in social isolation, or are of low socio-economic standing. The aging of the general population and the number of elderly people who live alone has raised the amount of people who are at risk.

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