Emergency planning and damage scenarios

Specific emergency plans are needed to ready Civil Protection Department structures for tackling and managing an emergency. These identify the objectives that must be followed through for organisation of a suitable response by the Civil Protection Department when the event occurs. An emergency plan prepares structured deployment of men and means for intervention, organised logically and coordinated in time.

The cognitive base for sizing resources to be sent into the field is made up of damage scenarios in other words tools that forecast possible damage and consequent effects on the population. These scenarios are calculated using territorial exposure and vulnerability data and based on reference events deemed to be more likely to occur depending on the selected time interval.

Assessment of these seismic scenarios, not limited to an estimate of the extent of the shaking, but focused directly on immediate loss assessment, is particularly important for the tasks that the Civil Protection Department must carry out.

Knowledge about a “damage scenario” allows a territorial picture to be drawn up of the area involved in the event, therefore providing important information such as the localisation and extension of the worst hit area, whether transport networks, communication media and distribution lines are working, in addition to the expected losses in terms of human lives, the injured, the homeless, collapsed and damaged buildings and relative economic damage, with obvious repercussions on Civil Protection Department activity, for both emergency planning and management. In the former case, the information permits identification and description of the reference event/s with a view to sizing human resources, materials to be used and their allocation within the plan. In this context, the Civil Protection Department provides support to Regional Authorities for the latter’s planning and policies for smaller local bodies, provincial and municipal authorities and mountain communities, supplying information regarding impact on the territory for one or more reference events with corresponding different levels of Civil Protection Department plan activation.
Whereas in the latter case, the information immediately provide a description of the actual event and its impact on the territory, to support emergency aid.

The Civil Protection Department currently avails of the following damage assessment tools:

  • Sige - Emergency management informative system
  • Quater - Territorial picture
  • Scecom - Local damage scenario

All these tools are currently used by the Civil Protection Department for emergencies and to provide support to regional and local authorities. Hazard and vulnerability assessment methods, practically the same for all the tools, have been designed to meet a need for pragmatic supply of a response that can be used by Civil Protection Department operators on both a national and local level. The level of uncertainty inherent in loss estimation can easily be imagined.

The problem of “assessing” the uncertainty of the estimate, of quantifying the level of confidence of loss forecasting, has however represented a need to be met and resolved, which has urged the Service to promote a series of studies that have resulted in damage scenario assessment that can be called second generation:

  • Faces - Fault Controlled Earthquake Scenario
  • Espas - Earthquake Scenario Probabilistic Assessment