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, with around eight hundred stations throughout the country. National Fire and Rescue Service is part of the Department that depends on the Ministry of the Interiors.
The National Fire and Rescue Service (Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco - CNVVF) has the duty to carry out urgent technical rescues, even in events in which dangerous substances are involved, and to carry out fire prevention services. It operates all over Italy, except Valle d'Aosta region, Bolzano and Trento provinces, with around 35,000 professional and volunteer units.
The National Fire and Rescue Service is the key part of the civil protection system. The Rescue Service also carries out rescue services abroad, within the framework of international agreements on people rescue in case of emergencies.
The CNVVF has its own radio network, which is used in the emergencies services and during disasters, and an independently owned and operated information system, which is also used to improve the management of rescue operations in civil protection activities.
The CNVVF, initially fragmented in various municipal bodies, was established as such by the Royal Decree of 27 February 1939, later converted into Law 1570 of December 27, 1941, and was initially called ‘to protect the personal safety and the salvation of things, by preventing and extinguishing fires and the provision of technical services in general, including those related to air defense’.
The course to become a National Fire Corps Diver lasts about five months, with the final stage based around the helicopter tasks. Every year in the summer, the trainers and the students at the Diver School meet on the breakwater of the port of Ravenna (Adriatic Sea) to undertake exercises using the Leonardo AW139 helicopter from the Nucleo Elicotteri Bologna (Bologna Air Section)