Building Civil Protection 2.0

Government 2.0
Location: 1A24 Level:

The Italian Civil Protection is a complex and interralated system that
involves diverse operational corps and organizations: fire brigades,
forest forces, armed forces, volunteers organisations (more or less
1.3 million people) – Red Cross, National Health service, National
Scientific research groups.

In the last 3 years, 2 projects have been set up in order to promote a
civil protection culture based on users collaboration approach. Ispro is a private institute founded by the father of
the Italian Civil Protection, and the web site was conceived and
implemented (drupal, wikimedia) as a public platform where users can
contribute to set up a shared knowledge in the field, exchange ideas
and experiences, through a wiki, gmap information, forums, and a
community (ning). Particularly the same type of community, set up in for volunteers, has been used by one organisation to manage
the volunteers activities and interventions also when the earthquake
in Abruzzo occurred.

Civil Protection for Mayors: an e-learning project developed by Formez
(Italian National training agency) and National Department of Civil
Protection whose aim was to train Italian mayors so to fill the gap on
civil protection issues. The moodle platform became a point of
interest for not only 2.000 users, but also for some volunteers
organisations, that used the training materials and forum to train the

These two experiences show that despite of the low Italian Internet
penetration the web is a free-will tool used by a lot of volunteer
organisations and public administrations at a local level.
Moreover during the early phase of the Abruzzo earthquake both
Facebook and Twitter played a role to inform and organize solidarity
rescue intervention, and now are channels to communicate the state of
the art in some rescue camps (see «roio piano» group in Facebook).
These experiences demonstrate that the web could represent an effective
tool to manage the great amount of information and data flows the
civil protection system has to deal with during a major disaster:
certificates of use, goods provision, rescued population census,
day-by-day information from the command & control head quarters, and so on.

It is time the civil protection community acknowledges that Web
2.0 is crucial in emergency management and preparedness programmes.
Exchange of experiences and ideas in this field (such as the InSteDD
projects or our national experiences) could help the disaster managers
community both to switch from the day-after approach to the day-before
one, and to find out a common way to set up standards and tools to
better cope with a major disaster and crisis.

Photo of Allan Holmes

Allan Holmes

Allan Holmes is Executive Editor at Government Executive, joining Executive Editors Tom Shoop and Anne Laurent in the senior management of the enterprise. Holmes has been CIO’s Washington Bureau Chief since 2004.
He was editor in chief of Federal Computer Week magazine and from January 2001 to August 2003, and FCW editor and managing editor prior to that. He developed, launched and managed the award-winning daily news site, During his nearly nine years at FCW, the magazine and web site won more than three dozen awards, including Folio Magazine’s Best Government Publication and first-place awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors for Best Government Coverage and Best Overall Web Publication.
Holmes also served as editorial director for events and new projects at FCW Media Group. This included running FCW’s Government CIO Summit, and managing research projects that measure the effectiveness of government management reforms, governance issues, the interaction between electronic government and the public, and other topics. In an earlier project, he oversaw an expansive joint study with the Pew Internet and American Life Project on the federal government’s increasing use of the Internet to sell goods and services to the public. Holmes has covered health care, business issues and state government, and has written for The New York Times, Time magazine, U.S. News and World Report and Government Executive. He has a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University.

Photo of Elena Rapisardi

Elena Rapisardi

formez, ispro, gruppo comunale pernumia, distretto bassa padovana

Web Content coordinator and community manager in the field of civil protection, and committed as volunteer in the Abruzzo Emergency (earthquake).
People is my passion. Sharing knowledge is my job.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Elena Rapisardi
Elena Rapisardi
11/05/2009 10:41pm EST

Thank you for your relevant question.

If I store my information on a web server, it depends on “where” is located the server. For example if I use googledocs to share information, in case of emergency my information will not be lost, but temporarily unavailable as my access to it will depend on internet connection. In this perspective the mobile internet could avoid lot of problems. In my experience, during the Abruzzo emergency, I could easily use the mobile internet access in one rescue camp, whereas in other camps, soon after the earthquake, they had wireless internet connection. In another case we had some troubles with our local server, but not with internet, and I could do my job as I had all my information files on googledocs.

In my opinion, this is a very important issue to be studied and planned “before”, a nd included in the emergency intervention plans. I would be interested to go in depth and share other experiences in order to find out some best practices.

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Kaitlin Pike
11/05/2009 7:56am EST

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