IT-alert: Italy to test new public alert system in Rome

Lazio region of Italy to test IT-alert at midday on 21 September.

Italy’s new IT-alert system will be tested in the Lazio region around Rome on Thursday 21 September at midday when the public will receive a “test” message on their mobile phones.

The aim is to introduce people to the new public alert service which is designed to warn of “a major emergency or an imminent or ongoing catastrophic event”, according to the IT-alert website.

In the event of an emergency situation, IT-alert will also offer “timely information to potentially affected people, with the aim of reducing individual and collective exposure to danger.”

The message that will be sent to cellphones in Lazio on 21 September will make a different sound to usual notifications, and the system does not collect any device or location data.

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.

IT-alert is currently in an experimental phase however once it is up and running it will be used by Italy’s civil protection authorities to warn the public of potential emergencies and disasters including a tsunami generated by an earthquake; the collapse of a large dam; volcanic activity linked to the Vesuvius, Campi Flegrei, Vulcano and Stromboli volcanoes; nuclear accidents or radiological emergency situations.

The system was first trialled in Tuscany in June before being tested in another regions around Italy during the summer, with testing to continue into October.

The IT-alert system will be tested in the northern Veneto and Valle d’Aosta regions on the same day as Lazio.

For full details, in English, of how the system works see the IT-alert website.