The Vigili del Fuoco is Italy's institutional agency for fire and rescue service. It is part of the Ministry of Interior's Dipartimento dei Vigili del Fuoco, del Soccorso Pubblico e della Difesa Civile (Department of Firefighters, Public Rescue and Civil(ian) Protection). The Corps' task is to provide safety for people, animals, and property, and to give technical assistance to industries, as well as providing fire prevention advice. It also ensures public safety in terrorist emergencies such as chemical, bacteriological, radiological, and nuclear attacks.

The Corpo nazionale dei vigili del fuoco coat of arms
Italian Fire Service Iveco Magirus Eurofire Stralis AT400
Vigili del Fuoco
Operational area
Country Italy
Agency overview
Established1 January 1939 (1939-01-01)
Fire chiefCarlo dall'Oppio
MottoIl Pompiere paura non né ha

Extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, are also increasing in Italy due to global warming. The frequency of wildfires is also increasing. Tectonically, Italy is frequently affected by earthquakes. The Corpo nazionale dei vigili del fuoco is a central force in the disaster management and civil protection of the country.[1]

The word Vigili comes from the Latin word Vigiles, which means "who is part of certain guards". The complete official name is Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco (CNVVF, National Firefighters Corps).

History edit

Autopompa Iveco Baribbi 190-26 of the Vigili del Fuoco

The first public firefighting organization in the western world was probably the "Vigiles", a military structured body with fire control and rescue duties that protected the city of Rome in the early centuries A.C. Two stations can be still visited in Rome (The "VII Coorte" and the "Ostia Antica" barracks). Their name has been adopted some 19 century later for the new Italian national firefighters organisation. During the Calabrian-Sicilian earthquake in 1908, fire brigades from different Italian towns had faced many problems caused by lack of coordination in equipment and operative instructions. The Fascist government, via the Ministry of the Interior, commissioned the design and creation of a unified fire protection body to Albert Giombini (born in Jesi on 18 July 1898). The Vigili del Fuoco, established in 1941, merged all the fire protection bodies previously existing in various towns and countries. The body played an important role in relieving the civilian population affected by bombing.
In 1942 the "Santa Barbara Battalion" was created after the Italians' retreat from Russia, and the defeat in the Battle of El Alamein. In this phase of the war, the German-Italian Allies planned to invade the island of Malta, then a British possession, using the ladders of the fire brigade, to be mounted on mine-layers. The soldiers (in this plan) could walk the ladders up to the island's territory. Giombini secretly asked all the 94 corps for a list of volunteers; it was necessary a strict selection for the manpower recruiting since the answers were numerous .

The operation, called "C3" by Italians and "Herkules" by Germans, however, was abruptly cancelled in October 1942, and the Battalion was disbanded. In early November, under increasing Anglo-American bombing raids on Italian towns, the men were divided into five groups, each with 100 men, and sent in the cities hardest hit by enemy bombs (Turin, Genoa, Rome, Naples, Milan) to aid the local Fire Commands. The ladders were returned to the Commands and the men who had been part of the Battalion were authorized to wear on the uniform the special badge of the "Santa Barbara".[2]

In 1989 the National Fire Corps was awarded the appointment of "goodwill ambassador" by the Italian Committee for 'UNICEF'. "Yes for Children", a manifesto for children's rights, is one of the campaigns it took part in.

In 2016 the Corp was awarded by the "Conrad Dietrich Magirus Award", the most important international firefighters contest in the world. The Italy's fire department were honoured as "International Firefighting Team of the Year" with this motivation: "Earthquake helpers are distinguished for extraordinary performance and teamwork".

Organisation edit

Firefighters in Italy are officers of the state. National Fire and Rescue Service is part of the Department that depends on the Ministry of the Interiors. 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 103 provincial commands. There are around eight hundred stations throughout the country.

The fire department operates its own nationwide radio network that is fail-safe. From 2021, the fire department's radio network was converted to TETRA digital trunked radio. Digital UHF-Base stations and servers were set up nationwide and in the autonomous regions. A fail-safe nationwide analog radio network was already in operation the decades ago.[3]

Operational staff edit

Vigili del fuoco in a parade on 2 June in Rome.

Emergency teams work throughout the country. Detachments of Vigili del Fuoco in each province are controlled by a coordinating command authority. In response to emergency calls, local operation rooms decide on the level of response and type of equipment needed, and liaise with local police and other emergency services.
Operating personnel may be permanent or volunteer. The latter is distinguished by the presence of a white frieze on the badge of status.

Each team consists of 5 or 6 people and is coordinated by a team leader or by the fireman with the longest field experience. He is distinguished from other firefighters by the red frieze and the red helmet. The rest of the team consists of Vigili Permanenti or of volunteers with several years of "seniority".[4]

Since 5 December 2005 the firefighters are no longer conscripts; citizens can subscribe to the civil service for a year. They are appointed to logistical and clerical services.

The head of the Department of Firefighters, Public Rescue and Public Protection is a prefect, appointed by the Minister of the Interior, who does not belong to the corps; the head of the CNVVF is a general manager from the body and wears a uniform.

Staff becomes operative after six months of physical and professional training in Rome. A special course entitles grants some firefighters to run emergency vehicles.

Operative staff has functions of judicial police, public safety, and fire prevention. The brigade's main task is to identify the causes of fires, in collaboration with other police forces.

"Discontinuous" volunteer fighters are former conscripts who have subscribed to the body, or citizens who have taken a specific course at the local Commands. Discontinuous volunteer brigades serve either at the Provincial Commands and local detachments, or at specific volunteer detachments.

Support staff edit

The Servizio Amministrativo Tecnico Informatico (Computer Technician Administrative Service), or SATI, supports the operational staff in all administrative and accounting tasks. It employs professionals with skills in computer science, electrical engineering, telecommunications.
SATI's personnel can be used in support of operational structures in places affected by major disasters or emergencies, where they assist operative staff. Each Command has IT specialists as administrators of the internal networks of the various Provincial, Regional and/or central offices, or as system analysts and programmers to develop the software used by the corps.

Specializations edit

Unimog, Iveco Eurocargo, Iveco VM 90 fire apparatus.

NIA edit

Nucleo Investigativo Antincendio (Fire Investigation Unit): it studies, researches and analyzes the causes of fires, often upon specific request by judicial authorities.

NSSA edit

Nuclei di Soccorso Subacqueo e Acquatico (Underwater and Water Rescue Units): they have 32 bases on the national territory, and help in risky situations related to water: fire aboard a ship carrying biological, chemical or nuclear weapons; search of persons at sea; flood emergencies. The divers can operate in unconventional places such as aqueducts, wells, sewers and waste water.

NH edit

Nucleo Elicotteri (Helicopter units): 12 helicopters grant air support to the groups on the ground for all types of interventions.

SAF edit

Speleo-Alpino-Fluviale (cave-alpine river). These rescuers are able to climb rock walls, descend into pits and caves, or tackle the currents of rivers. The same techniques are also used to reach steeples, roofs and top floors of skyscrapers where the normal ladders cannot be used. After earthquakes, they are employed to remove dangerous debris.

NCf edit

Nucleo Cinofili (Canine Units): they carry out search and rescue of all kinds, with the help of trained dogs.

Airport groups edit

This personnel presides over the safety at domestic airports. They are equipped with heavy duty vehicles equipped with cannons that shoot foam and powder.

Harbour groups edit

These units are equipped for rescue operations in sea, for fire on ships and in ports. The staff training is updated to keep pace with new technologies used in the marine field.

NBCR edit

Nuclear-Biological-Chemical-Radiological Units: they are prepared to work in the presence of dangerous substances (contamination by nuclear radiation, attacks with unconventional weapons, releases of hazardous substances such as gas or fuel as a result of accidents).

Radio repair group edit

They ensure the proper working of the communication system.

EMS edit

The group is composed of doctors and Fire Brigade personnel with TPSS (first aid techniques).

Equipment edit

Individual equipment edit

The basic fire-rescue kit of each firefighter consist of: protective helmet, fireproof balaclava, fireproof garments. For large quantities of smoke the fireman wears a breathing aid: a cylinder of compressed air with a facial mask that covers the entire face of the operator. It lasts an average of 20–25 minutes (200 bar), or higher, if at 300 atmospheres.

Technical equipment edit

Primary vehicles edit

Iveco Magirus Super Dragon X8
  • The most common is the APS, which stands for "autopompa serbatoio" (pump tank), used for fires, traffic accidents, etc. These means have specific equipment (hoses, hook ladder, retractor, saw, cutter, etc..) and a fair flow of water.
  • The "autoscala" is a ladder vehicle used to reach high floors, trees, etc. It can reach heights of 20 mt up to 50 mt in larger vehicles.
  • L'"autobotte pompa" (ABP) (pump) allows a big flow of water (about 8000lt.).
Italian Fire Service vehicles with an Astra crane on the left and a Magirus turntable ladder on the right, Army Parade in Rome, 2 June 2006.

Nautical and port rescue edit

MBPs (pump motorboats) differ in speed, length, water flow: faster boats have a lower water flow, and vice versa. Speed varies from 12 to 50 knots.

Locations of the "Nuclei Portuali" (Harbour groups):

Aviation edit

Piaggio P-180 of the Vigili del Fuoco
Vigili del Fuoco helicopter

Twelve helicopter units are located at Alghero, Arezzo, Bari, Bologna, Catania, Genoa, Pescara, Salerno, Turin, Varese, Venice and at the Aviation Center of Rome Ciampino.

The helicopters now in use are:

Two twin-engine turboprop airplanes, Piaggio P180 Avanti II are located at Rome Ciampino.

Other equipment edit

The craft have visual signaling devices (flashing blue lights) and siren (electromechanic wail, also known as whistle or Hi-Lo).

Band edit

The Fire Service band was formed in the late 1930s, it consists of more than 60 members from various Provincial Commands of Italy. They perform at both official and unofficial ceremonies: parades, festivals, concerts, etc. All the performers have a diploma from a national Music School and are employed in regular service.

Rank system edit

The current rank system dates from 2007, while the matching military styled insignia are from 2012.

Rank English Epaulette Chest badge for operational uniform Wrist badge Fregio for cap NATO Code equivalent
Dirigente generale
Capo del Corpo
Chief general manager
of the corps
Dirigente generale General manager         OF-7
Dirigente superiore
di livello C
Superior manager
Dirigente superiore
di livello D
dirigente superiore medico
dirigente superiore ginnico-sportivo
Superior manager
Medical superior manager
Gymnastic-sport superior manager
Primo dirigente
di livello E
First manager
Primo dirigente
di livello F
Primo dirigente medico
Primo dirigente ginnico-sportivo
First manager
Medical first manager
Gymnastic-sport first manager
Direttore vice dirigente
con funzioni del dirigente di livello E
Director vice-manager
with functions of the E-level manager
Direttore vice dirigente
Direttore medico vice dirigente
Direttore ginnico-sportivo vice dirigente
Director vice-manager
Medical director vice-manager
Gymnastic-sport director vice-manager
Direttore medico
Direttore ginnico-sportivo
Medical director
Gymnastic-sport director
Vice direttore
Vice direttore medico
Vice direttore ginnico-sportivo
Vice director
Medical vice director
Gymnastic-sport vice director
Inspectors and deputy fire directors
Sostituto direttore antincendi capo esperto Deputy director fire chief expert       OR-9
Sostituto direttore antincendi capo Deputy director fire chief       OR-9
Sostituto direttore antincendi Deputy fire director       OR-9
Ispettore antincendi esperto Fire inspector expert       OR-9
Ispettore antincendi Fire inspector       OR-8
Vice ispettore antincendi Vice fire inspector       OR-8
Team and Department Heads
Caporeparto esperto Department head expert [note 1]       OR-7
Caporeparto Department head       OR-7
Caposquadra esperto Foreman expert       OR-6
Caposquadra Foreman       OR-5
Vigile del fuoco
Vigile del fuoco
Vigile del fuoco
firefighter[note 2]
Vigile del fuoco Firefighter       OR-4
Tecnico antincendi
fire technician
department head
Vigile del fuoco

Museums edit

See also edit

Notes and references edit

  1. ^ Rank no longer awarded since 2018
  2. ^ Rank no longer awarded since 2018
  1. ^ "Die Klimakrise: Auswirkungen auf südeuropäische Länder". Jahreszeiten Verlag GmbH (in German). Retrieved 2023-10-04.
  2. ^ Alessandro Mella, I Vigili del Fuoco e l'invasione di Malta. Breve storia del Battaglione speciale "Santa Barbara". Marvia, 2009. ISBN 978-88-89089-30-9
  3. ^
  4. ^ Alessandro Mella, Uniformi e distintivi dei Vigili del Fuoco 1900–1965. Marvia 2008. ISBN 978-88-89089-24-8; Uniformi e distintivi dei Vigili del Fuoco 1938–1945. Parma, Albertelli, 2004. ISBN 978-88-87372-43-4
  5. ^ "Il Museo".
  6. ^ "あーちゃん大好きハチャメチャ育児で大混乱のアラサーママの日常生活 – あつこを育てる!そんなお母さんの育児奮闘日記です。美容についても書いているよ。". Archived from the original on 2020-03-08. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  7. ^ "Home".

External links edit