Magazine / Emergency & Crisis Management Oct 16, 2023 9:15:00 AM

Weather alert: how to manage and communicate the emergency

In the last year and a half , Italy  suffered 432 very severe weather events; increasingly powerful and widespread phenomena that in the past 50 years have caused more than 22,000 deaths and 100 billion euros in damage. In the future the intensity and duration of these events will rise, and we will need increasingly sophisticated and advanced weather warning tools.

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Weather warning: an key issue for the future 

Sima - the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine denounces a critical situation. In the first months of the year, the number of serious atmospheric events has risen by more than 130% compared to 2022.

Civil Protection is therefore faced with increasingly complex operations, given the severity of the alert and the delicate nature of the activities, which aim to protect a large number of citizens scattered over a vast territory. Operations such as the search for missing persons, the evacuation of uninhabitable areas and the securing of premises cannot be carried out without proper communication with citizens and operators.

The right communication: what is the current technology?

To best support the population during a weather alert, it is essential to have a clear and precise communication based on pre-established and peacetime-tested response plans. The use of state-of-the-art technological tools, with well-developed and tested procedures, is key to respond to any situation . The first, fundamental step in responding to a weather emergency is the planning of operations and the communication chain. Thanks to careful experimentation and constant updating of procedures, several tools have already been tested and should be adopted by every regional civil protection agency. Here are the main ones:

  • Early Warning

The early warning system consists of a set of aggregated tools used to send one or more warnings before the occurrence of severe weather (or other events). An early warning helps to set in motion the operational and rescue machinery and to prepare operators and volunteers in the best possible way, as everyone is informed about the situation and their tasks.

  • Public warning systems

A public warning system that allows an audible message to be sent to mobile phones in a defined geographical area, so that the population can be informed immediately of the arrival of a weather warning or a major emergency. In this way, citizens can be informed in good time and be better prepared for the arrival of the emergency.

  • Social media channels

Social media can be an important tool for exchanging information and quickly communicating a weather warning, even in a two-way manner with the population and operators on the ground; the Italian Civil Protection agency is experimenting with this type of messaging using a dedicated Telegram channel; some  emergency PSAPs have also included with social media tools, such as Waze, to inform citizens of problems and road closures.

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Beta 80 and Safety 1st: supporting Civil Protection

For years, Beta 80 Group has been supporting civil protection agencies in the correct management of large scale emergencies, with a particular focus on adverse weather and natural events. The TURNkey and eCitjens projects are just some of the activities where the Safety 1st management platform has been deployed  in recent years. Thanks to its wealth of experience in a wide range of areas, it acquired  a comprehensive overview of the needs of entire communities. In a national and global scenario where severe weather events will become increasingly frequent, it is important to implement an effective communication system now to protect all stakeholders 

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