I don’t take risks: the Italian campaign on good civil protection practices

International media are showing all over the world the effects of the climate crisis in Italy. Unprecedented weather conditions, anthropic and natural disasters, concerns about a manifested topicalization process. In these days, nearly 100 Italian scientists wrote an open letter sent from Italy’s Climate Media Centre, urging better reporting of the causes and solutions to climate change to avert the emergency.

The exposure of the country to heatwaves, floods, prolonged droughts, and fires are some of the signs of the climate change impacts, read the letter, citing 18,000 deaths in Italy from last summer’s heat wave. It is therefore necessary to get people more conscious and involved with the adoption of some simple precautions.

I don’t take risks” is the national communication campaign on good civil protection practices. The initiative starts from the consideration that the most effective way to prevent a risk is knowing it – easier said than done, you may point out. Indeed, this kind of knowledge is usually challenging to be spread effectively among citizens.

Therefore, the campaign dedicates a huge part of its activities in the streets. Civil protection voluntary associations are present all over Italy. Volunteers live and work in their territories, they are familiar with local institutions and concerns – who better to inform about the risks and the prevention strategies?

Volunteers are trained on natural hazards and provided with communication tools, then they meet citizens during special events. Every year in October, hundreds of squares all over Italy turn yellow with the weekend of the “I don’t take risks” campaign: civil protection teams set up info points in their cities to illustrate the contents of the initiative. It is not just a leafleting operation, rather a real exchange of knowledge and information. Throughout the year, during exercises, workshops, events, and relevant initiatives at the national or territorial level, “special squares” are also organized to encourage the widest dissemination of the campaign.

“I don’t take risks” gathers in digital spaces too: on social media, through videos and interviews, civil protection pills, cards on good practices, insights on risks, photos of training and informative events. All the materials (in Italian) can be downloaded in the dedicated area on the official website.

Looking for the next streets campaign in October, it is clearly fundamental to detect all the effective communication actions in our countries – to be informed, aware, and prepared. What is happening in Italy is just a part of a global trend that needs to be clarified. The letter sent by the scientists is a further evidence of the role of the media in that sense. Especially when the narrative fluctuates between the “bad weather” tale and recent institutional declarations made by the UN secretary general, António Guterres: «The era of global warming has ended, and the era of global boiling has arrived».

Ph: Official website “Io non rischio”.

Cover image: © 2009 Centro Meteo.

I don’t take risks”: Promoted and implemented by Civil Protection Department, Ingv - National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Anpas - National Association of Public Assistance, ReLUIS - Inter-University Consortium of Earthquake Engineering Laboratories and CIMA Foundation, in agreement with the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces and Anci - National Association of Italian Municipalities.