Earthquake in central Italy

Category: International Firefighting Team of the Year

Fire department: Reparto Comunicazione in Emergenza (COEM) del "Dipartimento dei Vigili del Fuoco di ROMA", Italy

Italia IT Italia

At 03:36  on August 24th 2016, the I.N.G.V (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) recorded an earthquake of magnitude 6.0, 4 km depth, with epicentre located in the municipalities of Accumoli (RI), Arquata del Tronto (AP), Amatrice (RI). The tremor was followed  by several repeats of magnitudes ranging from 5.4 to 2.8. The shock was felt throughout central Italy and affected the municipalities of Amatrice, Accumoli, Sommati, Petrana, St. Angelo, Casale, Cossito (RI), Arquata del Tronto, Pescara del Tronto (AP).

The Operational Sections of the Provincial Headquarters of Lazio, Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto,Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Liguria, Puglia, Friuli, Basilicata and Calabria were sent to the affected areas. In addition to the vehicles of the Operational Sections, special earthmoving  machinery was used,  specialists from search and rescue teams were sent to look for people trapped under the rubble with the help of sniffer dogs and with specific equipment such as: geophones, thermo-rooms and equipment for cutting reinforced concrete structures, as well as assessment teams for static stability testing.

Four AB 412 helicopters, one “A109” and one “AB 206” from the Fire Brigade Air Rescue departments of Pescara, Bologna, Venice, Arezzo and Rome worked with SAF personnel, who use caving and mountaineering techniques, in order to carry out rescues and reconnaissance. Two mobile units equipped for video/ data & images transmission to the Control Rooms were also operated and strengthened the radio communication system to the mobile radio links. Lighting equipment was supplied to the area to ensure that rescue operations could be continued.

Overall, the Fire Brigade's rescue operation included over 940 operating units with more than 400 vehicles making a total of 65 Operational Sections, technical officers specialized in the assessment of structure stability, 10 teams making a total of 57 units specialized in mountain/cave/river techniques, three specialist teams to search for people under the rubble and 28 rescue dogs.

One tanker of diesel for motor vehicles and two tankers of aviation fuel were supplied by the Headquarters of Bologna and Salerno. A large number of rescues were carried out by the Fire Brigade teams

in the municipalities of Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and in the neighbouring  villages. The bodies of 69 victims were recovered. 

The whole operation performed by the air rescue department of the National Fire Corps on August 24th  amounted to approximately 45 flight hours carried out for reconnaissance of the areas affected by the earthquake, the transport of the injured to hospitals and taking aerial video recordings.

Operational activities of rescue teams

from 6:30 a.m. on 21/09/ 2016  to 6:30 a.m. on 22/09/2016 

The emergency rescue operations for the earthquake that struck Central Italy on August 24th, with its epicenter located in the Municipalities of Accumoli (RI), Arquata del Tronto (AP) and Amatrice(RI).

On 22/09/2016 the following action was taken:

  • Cittareale: 124 aid operations, 317 rescuers, 10 officials, 178 vehicles
  • Arquata T.: 60 aid operations, 144  rescuers, 13 officials, 93 vehicles
  • Norcia: 43 aid operations, 43  rescuers, 6 officials, 14 vehicles
  • Macerata: 53 aid operations, 66  rescuers, 10 officials, 35 vehicles
  • L'Aquila: 6 aid operations, 2  rescuers, 2 officers, 3 vehicles
  • Teramo : 18 aid operations, 2  rescuers, 2 officials, 3 vehicles

By September 22nd 2016, the total number of aid operations was 26251, including NIS action.

With the collaboration of the communication personnel (COEM SECTOR VIMINALE CDV), an exchange of information has always been possible between the head of department and the head of the National Italian Fire Brigade. Correct channels of communication were kept with the press, so that the rescue operations were not reported only as ordinary news.