Emergency management consists of the measures and interventions implemented to ensure relief and assistance to communities affected by a disaster. It also includes the realization of urgent interventions and the use of simplified procedures, with the consequent activity of information to the population.

In Italy, the law classifies civil protection emergencies, caused by natural events or by human activity, in three types:

  • emergencies that can be dealt with by the intervention of individual bodies and administrations on an ordinary basis;
  • emergencies that, due to their nature or extent, involve the coordinated intervention of several bodies and administrations and that must be faced with extraordinary means and powers for limited and predefined periods of time, regulated by the Regions and Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano;
  • emergencies of national importance, that for intensity or extension must be faced quickly with extraordinary means and powers, for limited and defined periods of time.

For emergencies of national importance, the Council of Ministers decides on the state of emergency on the proposal of the President of the Council, with the agreement of the Region or Autonomous Province concerned. The state of emergency may be declared on the occurrence or imminence of natural disasters or events related to human activity on the national territory, but also in case of serious events abroad in which the Italian Civil Protection participates directly.

To ensure the timely deployment of forces and resources, even before the resolution of the state of emergency, the President of the Council of Ministers, on the proposal of the Head of the Department of Civil Protection and at the request of the Region or Autonomous Province concerned, may decree the state of mobilization of the National Service. The extraordinary mobilization, coordinated by the Department, supports the regional systems through the involvement of the mobile columns of other Regions and Autonomous Provinces, the organized volunteer civil protection and national operational structures.

Within emergencies of national importance, the Operational Committee of Civil Protection represents the most important coordination table. The Committee, presided over by the Head of the Department, is entrusted with the task of evaluating the news, data and requests coming from the areas affected by the emergency, defining intervention strategies and coordinating the use of all the administrations and bodies involved in relief and assistance.