The National Civil Protection Department (DPC) is a structure of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, which deals with all activities aimed at predicting and preventing risks, with aid, rescue and assistance to populations affected by disasters, with counter-acting and overcoming emergencies. The function of the DPC is to mobilise and coordinate all the national resources necessary to provide assistance to the population in an emergency.
As provided for by the National Alerting System for Tsunami of seismic origin (SiAM) in the Mediterranean Sea, the DPC carries out coordination activities of the System and of dissemination at national and territorial level of the alert messages received from the CAT-INGV.As provided for by Legislative Decree no 1 dated 2 January 2018, on the "Civil Protection Code", the DPC is the connecting point of the National Civil Protection Service and carries out tasks of guidance, promotion and coordination of the entire system.
The alert messages are distributed by the DPC to all the operational components and structures of the National Civil Protection Service, through a centralised and dedicated technological platform.
Specifically, the alert messages are distributed simultaneously to the subjects in Annex 2 of the "Guidelines for updating civil protection plans for tsunami risks" published in the Official Gazette no 266 dated 15 November 2018: to the various national and regional Operational Structures indicated in Annex 2 - Recipients of the SiAM messaging and message framework.
Within the scope of the SiAM, the CAT must promptly inform the DPC, through appropriate messaging, of the results of the monitoring activities concerning the estimate of the magnitude, the location of the hypocentre, the alert levels and messages from other Tsunami Service Providers operating in the Mediterranean under the NEAMTWS program. Should an initial alert message have been sent, the CAT must also inform the DPC of the results of the sea level monitoring, in order to confirm or cancel the alert.
Since the effectiveness of the alert largely depends on its timeliness, the objective of SIAM is to send the alert message as quickly as possible.
In the case of tsunami occurring very close to the coast, the technical times required for assessing and disseminating the alert by the CAT-INGV may be higher than the arrival time of the tsunami itself.
Should the information of the occurrence of the tidal wave reach the Italian Operations Room of the DPC from the territory before the confirmation message by the CAT of the INGV, the same operational room will verify and evaluate the news and inform the Fire Brigade, the Police, the Local Authorities and all the other subjects already mentioned, as well as the CAT itself and ISPRA. In this case, the DPC will evaluate the possible issue of a confirmation message.
Should the tide gauges not record significant anomalies in the sea level, it can be assumed that the earthquake has not generated any tsunami. In this case the Civil Protection Department will receive a cancellation message from the CAT and will circulate this appropriately.
The Civil Protection Department is also responsible for disseminating the end of event message (once again received from the CAT), which is issued at the end of an actually detected tsunami event, after the sea level changes are once again comparable with the levels prior to the event occurring. In this regard, it should be remembered that, in case of a tsunami, sea level anomalies can last for several hours, and that before cancelling the alert it is necessary to carefully check the data available in order to avoid the population being unnecessarily exposed to the risks associated with the tsunami.