Edited Transcript Nonember 2, 1999
EIIP Round Table Discussion
"Follow- up with IAEM Delegation to Italy"
Avagene Moore: Welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum and today's Round Table discussion. We are pleased that a few members of the IAEM delegation to Italy are with us today. Members of our audience are appreciated as well.
Today's session will be run a little differently since we have several people who may wish to contribute to the overview of what we experienced and observed in Italy. However, as usual, we want to have an orderly meeting.
When questions or comments are appropriate, please send a question mark (?) to the chat screen to let me know you wish to speak. Compose your question but hold it until you are identified by name.
We will show a few pictures of some of the meetings and the scenery to give you a flavor of the 6-day professional exchange in Caserta and Rome. Each picture will be prefaced with a description and then the URL in blue. If you click on the URL, the picture will come up in your browser window. The pictures are rather large files and may take a little time to load so we will allow for that as we go through the session.
Beth Armstrong, IAEM Executive Director, wants to be here today. Phyllis Mann, IAEM President Elect, is here. I will call upon them for comments from time to time. At this time, I would like other delegation members to indicate who you are by inputting 'Italy' or 'IAEM' (or whatever you like) and sending to the screen so the audience will know who you are.
Members of delegation please identify yourselves.
Janet Dilling: Janet Dilling (IAEM Italy).
Avagene Moore: Italy.
Vincent Parisi: Italy.
Avagene Moore: Phyllis was with us. Anyone else?
Kathee Henning: Italy.
Avagene Moore: It is noteworthy that there were delegates from 17 States, one FEMA Region (Region V, Vincent Parisi who was our interpreter and did such a great job!), US military, IAEM officials, and several Canadian provinces in the group that went to Italy.
Let's look at some pictures now and talk about our trip. Here is a picture of Signori Forlani and Phyllis. The woman is Forlani's niece, Patrizia, who is in charge of disaster preparedness education for children, and the little girl is her daughter, Ariana. This picture was made in Rome - but we will go back to the beginning of our visit after you have seen this shot.
Kathee Henning: While waiting for Beth, several of us had the opportunity to visit Signori Forlani's office. He is an accomplished artist as well as EM organizer. Adrianna, the granddaughter of Signori Forlani, shown in the photo, is part of their Junior trainees--a future Emergency Responder!
Avagene Moore: Our first night in Caserta, we were treated to a wonderful reception at the Caserta Royal Palace. We later toured the Royal Palace and Gardens. I don't have any pictures of the beautiful Palace but there will be several shown during the IAEM Conference in Louisville, I am sure.
On a personal note, our Italian friends had a beautiful birthday cake and gifts for five in our number who had birthdays while in Italy. What a wonderful and very special way to celebrate our birthdays!
Folks, you need to see all the pictures to appreciate the Palace and all the folks that were there. It was quite a night and in such a beautiful setting. Beth, Phyllis, other delegates -- please feel free to comment on this event.
Kathee Henning: The Italians were so thoughtful, they even arranged a birthday party for September birthday members from our group, with a lovely book of the Palace as a gift, if I remember right.
Beth Armstrong: Our hosts were officially the National Civil Protection Dept of Italy and the Province of Caserta, but the head of Caserta's volunteer protection unit really "hosted" and masterminded the Seminar.
Avagene Moore: Right, Kathee. Thanks, Beth.
Jesus Davila: Janet, spoke to us about the way Italy was responding to the mudslides instead of trying to incorporate it from a planning perspective. How can they incorporate the cost into the fiscal year budget?
Avagene Moore: Can anyone respond to Jesus' question? This was a first time disaster for them, Jesus.
Jesus Davila: Ok.
Janet Dilling: The conversation dealt with the tremendous amount of money they were putting into mitigation measures.
Kathee Henning: They usually can't incorporate that major a task into the annual budget, so they apply to the region, and even for federal assistance in a manner similar to our "declaration" process, using a Committee to review the request.
Vincent Parisi: The Italian government (federal level) provided $$ as well as the EU.
Avagene Moore: Thanks for that point as well, Vincent. Moving on.
Central Italy has its share of risks. It is especially vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mudslides, floods, urban and wildland fires and hazardous materials incidents. Daily reminders of last year's devastating mudslides are everywhere in the town of Sarno. More than 137 people were killed in four mudslides. Some of the bodies were never recovered and you can tell how high the mud was on the sides of some buildings. Please look at this slide which shows what I mean. Amy, SLIDE 2.
Avagene Moore: This was one of our field trips and the scenes in and around Sarno were very impressive. I believe it is safe to say that we all appreciated the problems this town has and the efforts they are making to remedy the situation. As seen in the following picture, Signori Forlani and his people had quite an audience for explanations of the mudslide disaster. You will recognize many in this shot. SLIDE 3, please Amy.
Avagene Moore: In another example of the scenes in Sarno, the following picture shows a building impacted by the mud with Mt Vesuvius in the background. As if the mudslides weren't bad enough, Vesuvius is overdue for an eruption and some 750,000 people have built on the slopes of the volcano. SLIDE 4, Amy please.
Avagene Moore: In another field trip, we were privileged to go to Pompeii to see the excavated ruins of that city. As you will recall, Pompeii was buried when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. A poignant reminder of that powerful volcano that they see everyday of their lives. SLIDE 5, please.
Avagene Moore: I don't want to do all the talking. Are there any comments from any of the delegates at this point? Your observations? Questions from the audience?
Jesus Davila: How advanced is their seismic and Geo Thermal Technology? Comparable to our own?
Avagene Moore: I can't address that but think Kathee or Janet perhaps can. Would one or both like to comment. Or Vincent? Phyllis had to leave.
Janet Dilling: I think we were all a little surprised at the number of risks and the number of disasters that Italy has to deal with. From a technological standpoint, particularly as it relates to volcanoes I would say they are very sophisticated.
Avagene Moore: Kathee, Vincent, Beth, would you agree?
Beth Armstrong: Yes, and I'd add that their volunteer system is a LOT more advanced than ours.
Avagene Moore: Yes, they rely a lot on volunteers and certainly train them well.
Janet Dilling: They seem to have very close research ties which contributes to their tech. talent.
Kathee Henning: I am still learning how to respond, so be patient. They have monitoring devices on several volcanoes, and I think they are working hard due to "high risk" to large populations at or near risks,
Avagene Moore: Yes. Their evacuation plans for Vesuvius rely on having a minimum of 2 weeks warning as I recall.
Beth Armstrong: A "volcanologist" spent two days with us. At first I thought it meant a cool Spock dude would join the group, but it was a professor from Naples.
Kathee Henning: They are trying unique mitigation measures, to channel water flows down mountains. Generally, we just restrict people from living on such mountains.
Claire Rubin: Janet, could you explain those research ties?
Janet Dilling: I am not sure that I can give a complete answer, but it was evident by those that gave us presentations that the research community, i.e., university researchers as well as Civil Protection Ph.D.s were an integral part.
Amy Sebring: Has environmental degradation been a factor in Italy such as in the mudslides? Are they addressing this issue?
Kathee Henning: They held a seminar in Rome in May 1996 on Environmental Geochemistry, and looked at many issues. You could probably get research from them.
Avagene Moore: I think Kathee's earlier response addresses some of the mitigation measures. It was so obvious where the mudslides came down the mountains. Huge gouges that could be seen for miles.
Beth Armstrong: Re degradation: the mudslides were a natural phenomenon however, not the result of development -- the mountain from which the mud slid was a very porous material, a remarkable situation. They're now addressing the problem with plans for a very elaborate sluicing system. Building channels right down the mountain and through town to direct the mud away from buildings.
Vincent Parisi: The disaster would not have been so catastrophic if illegal buildings were not constructed in high risk zones.
Kathee Henning: I thought we heard that they were also concerned about worsening weather for the next decade. Anyone else hear that?
Avagene Moore: Don't recall that, Kathee, but may have missed it. Other comments? Unless there is some mitigation as far as the earlier slides, gouges in the mountain, there will be more slides, I would think. Leon, please.
Leon Easom: Were there any cost/benefit studies done before spending all that money?
Avagene Moore: I don't know, Leon. Others have an answer?
Janet Dilling: I think they were instituting the mitigation measures in light of the loss of life, the inability, culturally to get people to move out of harms way, without much regards to cost/benefit relative to response dollars.
Vincent Parisi: A engineering/scientific group was charged with selecting the mitigation measures. They did look at this issue but probably not in the same sense we do.
Leon Easom: Just curious.
Avagene Moore: I will move on --- as we did, to Rome. From Caserta we went to Rome and met with a number of national leaders in the Protezione Civile. We toured the national EOC and the operations center for urban and wildland fires. The following photo is a shot of the delegation in a conference room with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Civil Protection for Italy, Professor Franco Barberi. SLIDE 7, please.
Avagene Moore: Someone may have a quick comment on observations at the operations centers. I am sure there will be other pictures shown of these rooms in Louisville. Any comments from delegates?
Kathee Henning: They said they were working to put in a GIS (computer mapping) for future. We saw mostly risk maps on the walls.
Janet Dilling: Their operations center was small by our standards
Avagene Moore: Yes, and at the top of the building. How many floors up? Long way to walk.-- 5 or 6 floors. We spent 3 days at Casel di Porto, a national training center, 30 miles outside Rome. This is where emergency services personnel are trained (firefighters, police, Civil Protection volunteers, military, etc.) This picture shows some of the firefighters training. SLIDE 8, please.
Beth Armstrong: Cool shot.
Avagene Moore: The training facility was impressive. Other comments?
Janet Dilling: We joked about the "compound" but it had many similarities to FEMA's EMI.
Avagene Moore: Yes, it did, but no TV or phones. We would be remiss if we didn't mention the hospitality provided to us by the Italians. They took us to wonderful restaurants, fed us way too much delicious food, and offered their best to us as their guests.
Kathee Henning: And paper thin walls!
Beth Armstrong: I hope folks going to Louisville will help me in small part by returning the hospitality.
Avagene Moore: Oh, yes, Kathee. Next slide. SLIDE 9, please Amy.
Avagene Moore: Beth you will like this picture I am sure. A good shot of you. Since we can't possibly cover the entire 6 days in this hour, I would like to hear your favorite place, sight, memory or meal during the trip? Please just input your answer in with no thought of order. Anything special you would like to share about the trip and your observations that we have not covered?
Beth Armstrong: That's WATER.
Avagene Moore: Gas or no gas, right? Was good to get home to plenty of water.
Kathee Henning: Two special memories--Pompeii and Pizza Party.
Amy Sebring: Ava, while we are waiting for final comments, how about giving a credit to the photographer?
Avagene Moore: OK. The photographer was Jimmy Moore, my husband, who accompanied us to Italy. He will send many more photos to Beth for Louisville.
Beth Armstrong: Thank you Avagene, wonderful job on forum today and the photographer can't be beat.
Avagene Moore: Would we all like to do more of this type of thing through IAEM?
I would. Beth, any comments? .
Beth Armstrong: We have a lead on a similar offering for Australia now.
Amy Sebring: I would like to know what you learned from the trip that might be useful to your own programs such as the way they use volunteers? or something else?
Or your impressions of the similarities or differences in local programs?
Avagene Moore: I am always struck by the mutual problems and risks around the world. I was very impressed with the dedication of the volunteers.
Beth Armstrong: From my perspective, we charged into the country so eager to show off US- and Canadian- know-how, came home impressed with how much more developed is their program than we anticipated.
Kathee Henning: Also, any follow-up to the donation of the ambulance?
Avagene Moore: Yes, would anyone like to contribute to the ambulance for the Italians?
Beth Armstrong: Re: ambulance: the title or whatever European equivalent is has been processed, I sent a check so that the transfer will not be delayed. HOWEVER, we are at least $1,000 short on the ambulance that IAEM donated to Caserta in gratitude for the world-class hospitality.
Avagene Moore: I was moved that Signori Forlani wept openly when Beth told him we would be giving them an ambulance. Beth, want to elaborate?
Kevin Farrell: What is the story there, Ava?
Avagene Moore: Beth is very involved with the ambulance effort, Kevin. They had an old 1964 vehicle and we located something much better for them.
Beth Armstrong: The Italians paid for all our lodging, just about all meals (some many-course gourmet), transportation, etc for 50 of us.
Gunnar Kuepper: Short Remark, it is planned to give the ambulance to the Italians between Dec. 3 and 15. in Bonn, Germany.
Kathee Henning: Thanks Gunnar for making the initial effort to locate it.
Beth Armstrong: Gunnar is the man that made it happen, is in charge of EMS for Bonn and was one of the delegates.
Kevin Farrell: Do we need to 'pass the boot' for the balance Ava? What do we need to do?
Isabel McCurdy: Avagene, where does one send the donation for the ambulance?
Beth Armstrong: Please send checks made out to "IAEM" reference ambulance donation, 111 Park Place, Falls Church, VA 22046
Avagene Moore: Let's close our forum now and we can continue to chat. Amy, please give us upcoming events?
Amy Sebring: Thanks Avagene.
Tomorrow in the Library we have Robert Swan from Dewberry & Davis, to present his paper "The Debris Management Cycle: An Overview." Bob is an expert in this area, and his paper is available for download from the User Docs section of our Library. See <http://www.emforum.org/vlibrary/debris.htm>.
Next Tuesday we will have our Community and Family Preparedness Round Table featuring Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), Emergency Management in the School Setting -- Georgia Style, presented by Karen Franklin, GEMA State School Safety Coordinator.
Since last week we are pleased to welcome one new pledge from Ron Gloshen in Utah. That brings us to 81. <//bell http://www.emforum.org/pledge.wav>. Thanks Ron!
According to our calculations, for the month of October, a total of 116 hours attended represented pledges, and we are very pleased with that result. If you have not yet made a pledge, please consider doing so by completing the form at <http://www.emforum.org/eiip/pledge.htm>
Thanks to all the delegation members that joined us today. We may also get a few more photos and will append them to the transcript. Back to you, Ava.
Avagene Moore: Our time is up for today. Thanks to Beth and all the IAEM delegation for being here today. We appreciate your participation and sharing. Audience, thank you too! Without you, where would we be?
Judy Jaeger: Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. The photographs really enhance your story. I'd like to see all of them on a web site at some point in the future!
Avagene Moore: Thanks, Amy. You are welcome to hang around and chat awhile longer if you like. But we will close the Round Table for today. Meeting is adjourned.
Additional slides from Italy taken by Jimmy Moore:
Signori Roberto Forlani, Director of the Servizio Volontariato Prtoexione Civile Caserta, and Phyllis Mann, CEM, President Elect of IAEM; in the conference room in Rome where we met with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Civil Protection for Italy. Italy10.gif
The delegation toured the national level Emergency Operations Center where disasters are coordinated via satellite; briefing in the EOC. Italy11.gif
Meeting with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Civil Protection of Italy, Professor Franco Barberi (Rome.) Italy12.gif
Kathee Henning, CEM, Coordinator of Montgomery County (MD) EM, and Signori Roberto Forlani in animated exchange in Rome. Italy13.gif
Four of the happy delegation touring the ruins of Pompeii -- left to right: Jimmy and Avagene Moore (Avagene is the EIIP Coordinator); Ann and Ken Baechel (Ken is President/CEO of Community Alert Network, Inc.). Italy14.gif
Additional photos courtesy of Kathee Henning:
Signori Forlani at his office in Caserta contacting Civil Protection Service Volunteers. khenn04.gif
Jimmy Moore surrounded by Kids at Pizza Party at Casel di Porto last night gathering. khenn11a.gif
Palace-- Kathee Henning, Mont. Co & Linda Spangler, San Jose celebrate Linda's birthday at Royal Palace in Caserta with other September celebrants. khenn11b.gif
Pizza Party - about 30+ went to Pizza Party at restaurant at Casel di Porto last night together. khenn12.gif
Cappacino mornings: Linda Spangler and Wanda Reed (Roanoke) in downtown Rome; coffee lovers delight. khenn13.gif
David Jacobs (PG County, MD), Kathee Henning (Mont. Co, MD) and Vincent Parisi, FEMA Region V at the national training center at Centro Polifunzionale. khenn17.gif
Lazzo Volunteers. Firefighting volunteers from Lazzo demonstrate European wildland fire technology at Centro Polifunzionale. khenn18.gif
Vincent Parisi presents info on Project Impact and National Flood Insurance programs to Italians and US/Canadian delegation in Caserta. khenn19.gif
Dinner at Villa at La Paratella, a former Palace of the Borbon kings in Caserta. (Jimmy, Avegene & Janet Dilling). khenn21.gif
Phyllis Mann and Signori Forlani at the town hall in Sarno, discussing mitigation measures for mudslide. khenn24.gif
Ready for Royal Reception, from left Kathee Henning, Linda Spangler, Janice (from Michigan) and Wanda Reed. khenn31.gif
Opening ceremonies for World Disaster Manager's Seminar with local Caserta and regional officials at Caserta town hall. khenn35.gif
Birthday party for September celebrants at Royal Palace in Caserta. khenn36.gif