On Wednesday June 28 at 12 noon, all smartphones connected to Tuscan mobile phones will receive a message at the same time. It will be a test, the first test of regional scope in Italy of the computer alert systemdeveloped by the National Department of Civil Protection, in collaboration with regional Civil Protection, to positively exploit the great potential of new technologies and alert citizens in real time in case of serious emergencies, imminent or ongoing catastrophic events.
IT-Alert is a system of public alarm Promoted by the Department of Civil Protection, it was created with the aim of covering the ‘last mile’ of information in the field of civil protection and reaching citizens potentially affected by an emergency situation. The IT-Alert system was tested on a local scale in 2022 on Vulcano, simulating an eruption, and in the province of Reggio Calabria, simulating an earthquake in the Strait area.
“Tuscany has been indicated by the National Department of Civil Protection as a place to test the new IT-Alert system on a regional scale for the first time – said the president of the Region Eugenio Giani – I can’t help but think that this election is also connected with the “efficiency demonstrated by our civil protection system and the fruitful collaborative relationship that has been active for years between the regional sector and the national department. On Wednesday I will closely follow the launch of this system, for now experimentalwhich, if perfected, will be a powerful real-time communication tool for critical issues and, therefore, a great step towards better emergency management and greater personal safety”.
“The test in Tuscany will be the first of a regional scope and will serve both to improve the system and to inform citizens of this new communication system in real time – explains the regional civil protection adviser Monia Monni – the test requires that all mobile devices phones connected to cell phones in a certain area at the agreed time receive a text providing them with information and instructions What the Tuscans will receive on Wednesday the 28th will only be a test, but if the mechanism works, we will know that we have a powerful tool at our disposal information available in real time, more valuable than ever in case of natural disasters or serious events. We will closely follow the test result. From now on I invite all citizens not to be alarmed, to verify that they have received the message and to follow the instructions contained in it, to give their opinion on the result of the test”.
Other regional tests will follow in Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria, Emilia Romagna. The text message that all mobile phones in Tuscany should receive is this: “This is a TEST MESSAGE from the Italian public alarm system. Once operational, it will notify you in the event of a serious emergency. For information, visit the website www.it-alert.it and fill in the questionnaire”. The page questionnaire is designed to gather feedback and refine the system when necessary. The person who is in the area affected by the automatic warning will not have to do anything more than read the alarm message that will automatically appear on their phone and light it up. The message will stay at the top until you read it. This is an experimental phase of the IT-Alert system, which will last until February 13, 2024.
In the initial phase, IT-Alert will not be used for all kinds of catastrophic events, but only in case of an earthquake generated tsunami, large dam collapse, volcanic activity (Vesuvius, Campi Flegrei, Vulcano, Stromboli), nuclear accidents or radiological emergencies, major accidents in industrial plants, heavy rains.
The use of IT-Alert is excluded for events with high uncertainty, highly localized or with a very small margin of predictability. For each type of risk, operational indications are being drawn up by the Head of the National Directorate of Civil Protection. In future IT Alert messages, citizens will find written who sent the message (eg ‘Civil Protection’), the reason for sending it (eg ‘Heavy rain alarm’) and the recommended urgent actions ( eg, ‘Get to emergency areas in mountains’). Since this is information sent exclusively to people potentially affected by the emergency, it takes the form of a true Call To Action, a kind of citizen activation that allows citizens to protect themselves and others, assuming a role of personal protection more and more active and conscious. The messages sent by the Department of Civil Protection will contain information on the risk scenario and the related self-protection measures to be adopted quickly as indicated by the iononrischio.protezionecivile Campaign.
The service works with all smartphones (but not with old mobiles) since it complies with the international standard ‘Common Alerting Protocol’ that guarantees complete interoperability with other systems for broadcasting alerts and emergency alarms and national and international public notices. Push notifications are a type of instant messaging that allows a message to be sent to the user through an internet connection. They are called push notifications since the message that arrives is pushed to the user without having to perform any specific download action (pull). It is active on Android and iOS systems.