In April – May 2015, Alberto Boanini – Chief Team Senior Expert in Air and Surface Water Rescue within the Italian National Fire-Fighters Department – accompanied IPA FLOODS Programme Consortium representatives in a number of operational needs’ assessment missions in the Programme’s Beneficiaries. These visits have been conducted under the activity dealing with multi-national Civil Protection Modules (CPMs) for flood response of the type “Flood Rescue using Boats” (FRB). Through this interview he is providing the readers with an interesting point of view in his quality of EU Civil Protection Modules’ Expert.

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A. Boanini (right side) visiting the premises of his Serbian colleagues

 Could you tell us about the experiences and specific knowledge gained in the last years by the Italian National Fire-fighters in  the      field   of flood risk response preparedness that IPA FLOODS is expected to deal with?

 “After fifteen years of operational activity carried out in the field, in the last years my professional activity shifted into the planning and technical  support in hydrological risk emergencies, as part of the personnel of the regional structure command of fire-fighters. During the floods occurred at  different levels of gravity in all the national territory, I managed the deployment of fire-fighters resources and the linkages with the regional and local  civil protection structures. Moreover, I have been in charge for resources planning and management as well as for making available the structures  ensuring the security during the operations and the risk management. The worth-mentioning experience I had has been during the Costa Concordia  emergency: there I worked within the Command structure with specific tasks related to operations management and security in the framework of an  exceptional multi-agency intervention where cooperation and teamwork were essentials, two values that I consider most important”.

Could you sum up the work you carried out with the Beneficiaries for the development/elaboration of these FRB Modules? What is the value added of the cooperation established with other Consortium Partners?

“During this very interesting collaboration, I think I have actualised my wish to become a technical advisor for decision-making of the Programme management structure, by providing the fire-fighters with my expertise in the field of equipment and engines testing for SAR operations in water environment. In particular, I offered suggestions on suitable locations and technical specifications for the equipment, and on the management methods applicable to the equipment that the Programme will provide Beneficiaries with. It has been as well a very positive personal experience because it allowed me to be aware of the particular features of the Region: huge distances, the exceptional water flow of its rivers, the emergency management structures and, above all, the human aspect. All these information were essential to give a technical advice really tailored to the needs of the Beneficiaries. The linkages between land type, emergency structures, equipment already available and human resources skills were factors allowing me to adjust the actions and make them effective. Moreover, these direct experiences enhanced my expertise crucial to, if requested, provide further support during trainings and possible real operational activities.”

Does it is your first experience in Western Balkans and Turkey? At the end of this “tour” what is your lesson learnt?

“This experience enriched me both from the professional and human points of view: in addition to the precious information I get on the particular features of the territories I have visited, I had the pleasure to meet really special people. Furthermore I acquired a new awareness through the knowledge of local emergencies response systems, a very precious know-how for improving my professional performance in Italy as well. In other words: a really valuable experience!”