The National Fire Corps
The Department of firefighters, public rescue and civil defense (Dipartimento dei Vigili del Fuoco, del Soccorso Pubblico e della Difesa Civile) is composed by eight central directorates, eighteen regional offices and one hundred provincial commands, with around eight hundred stations throughout the country. National Fire Corps is part of the Department that depends on the Ministry of the Interiors.
The National Fire Corps (Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco - CNVVF) has the duty to assure the urgent technical rescue, even in events in which non-conventional substances are involved and to carry out fire prevention services. It operates all over Italy, except Valle d'Aosta region, Bolzano and Trento provinces, with around 35.000 professional and volunteer units.
According to the national law, the National Fire Corps is the key part of the civil protection system. The Corps also carries out rescue services abroad, within the framework of international agreements on people rescue in case of emergencies.
The CNVVF has its own radio network, which is used in the emergencies services and during disasters, and an independently owned and operated information system, which is also used to improve the management of rescue operations in civil protection activities.
The CNVVF, initially fragmented in various municipal bodies, was established as such by the Royal Decree of 27 February 1939, later converted into Law 1570 of December 27, 1941, and was initially called "to protect the personal safety and the salvation of things, by preventing and extinguishing fires and the provision of technical services in general, including those related to air defense."
Following to the development of the country these tasks become more and more complex and varied, until the Legislative Decree no. 139 dated March 8, 2006 stated that: "National Fire Corps, is a civil structure of the state, anchored in the Ministry of the Interior, firefighting, rescue and public civil defense Department, by which the Ministry of the Interior is to guarantee emergency services and public fire prevention throughout the national territory; moreover, it shall carry out other activities assigned to the Corps national laws and regulations, as provided in this decree."
Every day, every night, firefighters are ready to intervene to rescue people, to safeguard assets, to protect the environment.
The rapid response, expertise and experience gained from previous activities of civil protection are essential for the relief of people affected by natural disasters or major disaster.
The National Fire Corps has been working alongside with the children since 1989, when it received the appointment of "goodwill ambassador" from the Italian Committee for UNICEF.
The CNVVF, in order to protect the personal safety and integrity of goods, provides technical rescue and assistance, which requires technical skills even for highly specialized equipment and adequate resources, and performs technical studies and experimental tests in the specific field.
Included among the technical operations of public assistance of the National Corps are:
- technical rescue during fires, uncontrolled releases of energy, sudden or threatening structural collapse, landslide, floods or other public calamity;
- technical work against risks from the use of nuclear substances and the use of chemical, biological and radiological threats.
In the events of civil protection, the CNVVF works as a basic component of the National Service of Civil Protection and assures, within its technical expertise, management of technical operations of emergency in accordance with the degree of coordination required by the current legislation.
The CNVVF, as part of its institutional capacity in the field of civil defense:
- faces the risks arising from non-conventional crimes committed in any acts against persons or property, with the use of nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological material;
- contributes to the preparation of fire fighting units for the armed forces;
- contributes to the preparation of national and regional civil defense;
- provides services and training to the units responsible for the protection of the civil population, the activities carried out in case of war included;
- participates with its representatives, to the collegial bodies responsible for civil defense.
In terms of extinguishing forest fires, the central and peripheral structures of the CNVVF provide urgent technical assistance to the direct jurisdiction of the people and safeguard the integrity of the goods. In case of a prior agreement, the CNVVF makes also available to the regions resources, equipment and personnel necessary to perform active fight against forest fires.
Fire protection services are entrusted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior, which exercises its activities through the CNVVF. Fire protection is the overriding public interest function intended to achieve the safety of human life, the protection of property and environment through the promotion, study, preparation, testing of measurements, standards, devices and modes of action aiming to prevent or limit the occurrence of a fire and its connected consequences.
According to a uniform criteria applied in all national territory, fire protection services are conveyed in all areas characterized by high risk of fire and, because of its interdisciplinary importance, also in those working areas to that use hazardous goods, energy, ionizing radiation, and in yards.