After an earthquake of particular significance on the national territory (generally for local magnitude ML equal to or greater than 5.0) or in the event of prolonged seismic sequences, INGV implements, in the shortest possible time, a series of actions at the headquarters and on the field aimed at deepening the understanding of the ongoing phenomenon and providing support to Civil Protection interventions.
A brief description of the 6 INGV Operational Groups that are activated in the event of an emergency is given below.
COES (Seismic Emergency Operational Coordination) represents the INGV presence in the area affected by a seismic emergency. The main purpose of COES is to support INGV personnel involved in emergency activities in the countryside but also to provide support, from a scientific and information point of view, to rescue operators involved in emergencies (firefighters, associations of volunteers, law enforcement agencies, the army, etc.), to employees of local administrations and public offices and to the population affected by the event.
IES: Information in Seismic Emergency
Earthquakes always generate a great need for information and knowledge on the part of citizens: on the characteristics of the physical phenomenon and its effects, on the correct behavior to adopt in situations of risk, on the initiatives put in place to overcome the emergency. This need manifested itself significantly during the 2009 sequence in Abruzzo, during the 2012 Emilian seismic sequence and in the 2016-2017 central Italy sequence.
Every emergency understandably generates apprehension and a strong demand for clear and reliable news among the population on both scientific and operational aspects. For this reason, the meetings of the IES Group foresee the involvement of seismologists, psychologists, experts with engineering skills, voluntary organizations and representatives of the Regional Health System competent for psycho-social support interventions.
Also important is the support to the school world which allows teachers to acquire knowledge, tools and minimum skills to individually manage the emergency phase and face, in the best possible way, the resumption of teaching activities, with the awareness of being able to take on a more active role in providing psychological support to children and young people during the emergency.
EMERGEO is a working group transversal to the INGV Sections which includes researchers, technologists and technicians and mainly made up of experts in the field of earthquake geology. This group has the objective of intervening during a seismic emergency to collect geological ground data relating to the effects produced on the surface by earthquakes with a magnitude close to or greater than 5.5 in Italy and in the Mediterranean area. Among the main cosismic geological effects, both primary and secondary, there are: faulting and surface fracturing, permanent effects on the morphology of the land, liquefaction phenomena, landslides, potential instability phenomena. The phenomenologies that have occurred over the years have led EMERGEO to also deal with the survey of the effects of tsunamis on coastal areas and of surface faulting in volcanic environments.
The organizational structure of the EMERGEO group consists of: (1) Coordination Committee; (2) Office contacts; (3) Detectors. The staff of the EMERGEO working group participate on a voluntary basis in the activities listed above.
The INGV personnel involved in the evaluation of the local seismic response (site effects) intervene in emergencies with the installation of remote seismic stations during the most important seismic events. It also deals with preparatory activities for seismic microzonation in areas affected by an earthquake. The intervention is aimed at studying the amplification of seismic waves linked to the particular characteristics of the different terrains. The activities are set up in coordination with those of the SISMIKO, EMERGEO and QUEST Operational Groups.
QUEST (QUick Earthquake Survey Team) is a group of INGV experts dedicated to post-earthquake macroseismic survey with the aim of providing, quickly and unequivocally, the picture of the effects in the area affected by a seismic event, in support of the Civil Protection and the scientific community. QUEST, once the most urgent support functions have been fulfilled (or at the same time), proceeds with the collection and processing of data for more properly scientific purposes, an operation that has a similar urgency, since, once the interventions for securing the buildings, the event effects will no longer be uniquely readable.
SISMIKO represents the coordination of the INGV Mobile Seismic Networks in an emergency. Installing a temporary seismic network to integrate the permanent ones present in an area affected by a seismic or volcanic emergency allows you to significantly improve monitoring by optimizing the ability to detect seismic events and the quality of their locations. This makes it possible to immediately contribute to the seismic surveillance service by following the space-time evolution of seismic sequences in greater detail and subsequently to increase scientific knowledge of the area concerned