IT-Alert system will be used to warn public of potential emergencies or disaster situations.
Italy’s new IT-Alert system is designed to alert the public in the event of “a major emergency or an imminent or ongoing catastrophic event”, providing instant information to mobile phones in a specific geographical area.
Following a two-year experimental phase in which it was tested in regions around Italy, the public alert system became operative from 13 February 2024 in the case of several emergency scenarios, the civil protection authority announced.
These include: the collapse of a large dam, major accidents in industrial plants, nuclear accidents or radiological emergency situations, and volcanic activity in the areas of Campi Flegrei, Vesuvius and the island of Vulcano.
“Let’s remember that in an emergency it’s just as important to know what to do as what not to do” – the head of Civil Protection Fabrizio Curcio said – “In short, be prepared when you receive an alarm notification.”
Testing continues with regard to notifications of earthquakes, the risk of tsunamis and floods, and volcanic activity on the island of Stromboli.
How IT-Alert works
In the event of an emergency situation, IT-Alert will offer “timely information to potentially affected people, with the aim of reducing individual and collective exposure to danger”, according to the IT-Alert website.
The message sent to cellphones will make a different sound to usual notifications and no action will be required from recipients of the message other than reading it.
The public will be invited to complete a questionnaire linked to the message, which can also be used to report any problems, and the system does not collect any device or location data.
It is not necessary to download an app or register online to receive the IT-alert, however in order for the message to go through, the device must be switched on and have signal.
On receipt of the IT-alert notification, all other functions of the mobile phone will be temporarily blocked until the message is opened.
For full details, in Italian and English, about how the system works see the IT-Alert website.