THE FOUNDATION OF C.I.S.O.M.
CISOM depends directly from ACISMOM, and was founded in 1970 by grouping together:
Prince Francesco Colonna, President of ACISMOM, appointed the Carabinieri Colonel Enrico Basignani as the National Director of CISOM and stressed the need for a close cooperation of Area Supervisors and Group Supervisors with Grand Priory Delegates.
"Provisional Regulations" concerning the relationships between CISOM and the Rome Delegation had been developed already in 1968 by the Grand Priory of Rome.
By decree of May 25, 1983 the CISOM Board of Directors and Executive Board were modified, and the National Director of CISOM became entitled to hold the office of member of the Board of Directors of ACISMOM .
The Decree no. 31451 of 25.2.1987 adopted the CISOM Regulations, which defined CISOM organization and functions in full.
In April 1985 Generale C.A. Igino Missori started working with CISOM as Advisor, because I still was in permanent service (which ended on October 3, 1985).
On January 20, 1986 I was appointed National Director of CISOM by ACISMOM resolution bearing the signature of Don Francesco Colonna. .
Already in 1968, the Baĺ Brother Uguccione Scroffa, Grand Prior of Rome, had created a study commission on the issue, and had had contacts with Italian civil protection bodies.
Meanwhile, the Grand Priory of Rome, in agreement with the Magistral Commissioner of ACISMOM Don Ugo Theodoli and with the Rome Delegate Don Filippo Caffarelli, organized a first-aid course for the Youth Group of Rome, which was successfully carried out at the Clinic San Carlo on the via Aurelia in Rome, directed by Prof. Pietro Pulsoni, Magistral Knight of Grace, manager of the clinic.
CISOM was instituted with the first adoption of its Regulations on June 24, 1970 by magistral decree no. 502/9860, bearing the signature of the Grand Master Brother Angelo de Mojana.
During that period the main activity of CISOM consisted of holding first-aid courses, especially in the Veneto; the related manual, published in Venice, reaped a considerable success and was re-edited as many as three times in Venice.
The lessons in the manual were integrated by a didactic film entitled "Throb of Life", showing the correct reanimation practices in case of drowning, electrocution, gas poisoning, and also heart massage and mouth-to-mouth respiration techniques.
There were slides showing how to place patients on the stretchers and bandage application, mouth-to-mouth respiration and heart massage drills on a special dummy called "Resusci Anne".
Lessons were also dedicated to how to give spiritual support to the injured and to the legal consequences of failure to assist.
The trainees who passed the final exam received a pin and a diploma.
These course were held mainly in Venice, Verona, Turin and Ferrara.
The Grand Priory Delegation of Rome sponsored the creation of the first Group in Tivoli: it was comprised of ten young people from the Children's Community called "Villaggio don Bosco". These young people, guided by a young priest, Don Benedetto Serafini, had collaborated with the Carabinieri and the Fire Squads in various rescue and fire-fighting operations; assisted the sick members of the annual Austrian Order pilgrimage during their entire stay in Rome; helped bringing old-aged patients assisted by the Grand Priory of Rome to the Vatican and back home, getting distinguished for their self-denial and spirit of charity during many Order pilgrimages to Lourdes, where they provided assistance to the ill in a very praiseworthy manner.
A second Group was established in Assisi, where the Grand Priory Delegation of Rome has organized a well-equipped dispensary at the Porziuncola.
This large Group (43 members, males and females) was split in two and the First Grouping was formed .
Another Group, this time with a nautical mission, was created at the "Flavio Gioia" Marina, in Gaeta; it had a powerful vessel equipped for rescue operations at sea. And the Group indeed performed many rescue operations, all ratified by the local Harbor Office.
Many drills were also performed in the presence of the CISOM President Don Ugo Theodoli, his successor Don Aspreno Colonna, and of the Grand Prior of Rome, Brother Uguccione Scroffa.
A Group similar to that of Gaeta was established in Terracina. This Group could also intervene in floods, as it was equipped with outboard engine dinghies. Remarkable rescue operations during river overflows in Ciociaria are owed to this Group.
During the Holy Year, prior agreement with Vatican Authorities, the Order established a first-aid station in St.Peter's that employed all the international first-aid organizations of the Order. Italy, and hence CISOM, was in charge of the final period, which ended when the Holy Door was closed on December 1975.
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES
The National Directorate of CISOM, guided since 1985 by Gen. Igino Missori has always been concerned about the rational organization of the volunteers at Group, Grouping and Area level, as well as about their equipment, from uniforms and outfits to transportation means. Today, all volunteers are allowed to work with adequate uniforms and equipment.
In fact, the National Directorate of CISOM has undertaken a tireless search for materials, apparel and equipment from the three Armed Forces, the representatives of which show their pro-active, respectful and sometimes even enthusiastic will to help General Missori to meet the requirements of CISOM for any kind of materials.
In 1991, by initiative of the Grand Chancellor Felice Catalano di Melilli, CISOM was officially recognized by the Ministry of Civil Protection as the civil protection body for Italy of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
On January 28, 1991 the Ministry of Civil Protection and the Grand Chancellor entered into a diplomatic agreement (published in the Official Gazette no. 164 of 7/15/91), which established the obligations of each party in the field of civil protection.
From then on, CISOM's collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Protection has been growing closer and closer, both at central and local level.
In fact, CISOM was registered among the main national civil protection bodies. A CISOM representative has been invited to participate in the regular meetings organized by the Ministry of Civil Protection; CISOM staff and vehicles are registered as central Ministry resources, and there are excellent relationships between CISOM local Groups and the corresponding Prefectures.
Besides, CISOM Groups in Sardinia, especially in the province of Sassari, enjoy a special consideration for the almost exclusive contribution given by them in the fight against wood fires.
The first aid services carried out in the ports of Olbia and Porto Torres during the Summer is also highly appreciated. At times there are hundreds of vehicles (and tourists) waiting to board the ferries directed to continental Italy when the vacations are over.
CISOM services are solicited in all the great mass celebrations, especially during religious and sport events, and CISOM organizes efficient medical and first aid stations.
CISOM also receives many and frequent requests from the confreres of other countries in international gatherings at the Holy See, such as, for instance, the one held for the 7th International Conference of Disabled in the Paul VI Auditorium, Vatican City, in November 1992.
In recent years CISOM also played its part in important aid crusades abroad, among which lately:
From April 1991 on, with a meeting of the Ambulance Corps of the Order providing civil protection services in Europe, by initiative of the SMOM Hospitaller Albrecht von Boeselager, the International "First Aid and Civil Protection" Team was established, in order to create a permanent joint European body of the Order denominated "Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta" (E.C.O.M.).
The first meeting was held in Vienna on April 11-12-13 1991, the second in Cologne on November 15-16 1991, the third in Paris on June 11-12 1992, the fourth in Dublin on April 3 1993, the fifth in Vienna on October 16 1993, the sixth in Rome on March 18-19-20 1994, the seventh in Paris on October 7-9 1994, etc..
Step by step, in each meeting ECOM appointed its own executives and formulated its Charter.
The body was also given its identity through the definition of :
In practice, ECOM started its activities in 1992 with a "Coordination Secretariat for Catastrophe Events", chaired by Dr. Jorg Jokobljevich, Director of the Austrian Ambulance Corps in collaboration with Mr. Martin Pfeifer, Director of the Cologne Ambulance Corps, to lay out an operational plan in coordination among the civil protection bodies of the Order in France, Austria, Ireland and Italy.
CISOM foresaw the need to schedule international first aid training courses and proposed the use of a facility located in Ploaghe (Sassari), Sardinia, property of a religious foundation and already managed by CISOM, that had been the base of the CISOM Grouping of Sardinia.
The main purpose of ECOM is that of ruling the opportunities for cooperation of groups of volunteers of different nationality whenever a calamity occurs in the various parts of the world, and particularly in Europe and the Near East.
The first issues were dealt with by the international executives who joined the "campus" held on September 16-20 1992 in the castle of Tillisburg near Linz, Austria; they grouped together forming four workshops, namely :
1° Fund raising;
3° Medical services;
4° Technical, transportation and logistic services .
CISOM presented its situation, proud of its 57 Groups capable of mobilizing three emergency units (North - Center - South), each of which could in turn act as logistic base to provide extended assistance to about 300 people.
CISOM also reported its impossibility to operate abroad, as the law in force concerning civil protection allows its services to be required only by Prefects (Art. 11 of the Law). This issue reflects itself mostly in the insurance coverage of the staff employed abroad.
To the date, CISOM is organized and operating with its 1,450 volunteers, distributed in 57 Groups, in turn included in 17 Groupings subordinate to the 3 Areas (Milan - Rome - Messina), the Corps is structured into. In Italy CISOM is the only body of the Order that carries out with success civil protection activities.
The Umbria Grouping has carried out important activities in these years, during the earthquake of a few years ago and in a number of interventions to put out wood fires, and most of all with the extensive job done by its staff in training to underground (caving) rescue and survival, building evacuation in case of fire, use of radio equipment and off-road vehicles, use of pumps to drain waters in case of flood.
The Head of the Grouping Prof. Paolo Caucci von Saucken, a great expert in the field, has personally worked with a group of Umbrian volunteers in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela during the celebrations for the Compostelan Holy Year (August 1 to 15 1993), providing valuable and appraised collaboration to the Spanish confreres.
The 3rd CISOM Area is also worth of mention. Its jurisdiction is the same as that of the Grand Priory of Naples and Sicily and includes five Groupings: Campania, Puglia and Lucania, Calabria, West Sicily and East Sicily.
The main activities in this Area have recently involved Sicily, due to the earthquakes that have vexed the island. On December 13, 1990, after the Carlentini earthquake, an operative base was created in Noto (SR), to help the local population.
Three ambulances, four campers and five vehicles of various kinds were mobilized. The staff and the vehicles remained available to the town Mayor until June 1991, then one ambulance and one camper were left, as requested by the Mayor.
Similarly, another prompt intervention was organized after the quake of June 26 1993 in Pollina and Finale (Palermo), by the CISOM Grouping of West Sicily, with the collaboration of the CISOM Group of Reggio Calabria. Equally important is the service provided during the G7 meeting in Naples.
As many as 78 volunteers and six vehicles, of which 3 equipped ambulances, were employed from July 6 to 10 1994. The various aid stations were manned by volunteers from Rome, Naples, Avellino, Bari and Reggio Calabria, and therefore the services were also extremely useful to favor the cohesion among the Corps volunteers on duty in different Groups, often very far from one another.
The volunteers from outside Naples were accommodated and boarded by the Navy in its own premises. The volunteers off duty also helped to preserve public order along the Caracciolo waterfront during the passage of the car trains of the various Heads of State.
From June 15 through September 15 1995 CISOM joined the "Safe Beaches" initiatives organized by the Ministry of Transport and Navigation in the town of Imperia.
The job done by the medical presidium was praiseworthy and turned out to be fundamental when assistance was provided to the Captain of a ship in transit, who was in very serious conditions due to an internal hemorrhage.
On August 5-12 1995 CISOM took part in the international SMOM convention for the handicapped in Klsterlechfeld (Bavaria).
On September 15-17 1995 the drill "Magione in Emergency 1995" was organized in the town of Magione; the Prince Grand Master attended the close ceremony in the presence of the Prefect of Perugia and the Mayor of Magione, who congratulated with CISOM for the work being done.
On November 5-10, 1995 CISOM joined the pilgrimage in Rome of the German Order of Malta, organized by Count Wilderich Schall. From February 11 through March 14, 1996 CISOM organized the "Sweet Smile" initiative in Rome, aimed at entertaining long-term hospitalized minors.
On May 22, 1996 the CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) solicited CISOM intervention in Rome for first aid services during the Juventus-Ajax soccer match.
On July 6, 1996 CISOM participated in the World Rescue Swimming Day celebrations in Acropoli, requested by the Italian Swimming Federation. From July 7 through August 31, 1996 CISOM rendered its services for the fire-fighting campaign in Sorso (Sardinia) gaining the acknowledgement of local authorities and reaping success among the population for the various interventions performed.
On January 11-13, 1996 CISOM took part in the first international Civil Protection Convention in Naples, organized by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Naples under the aegis of the UNO.
On November 3, 1996 CISOM intervened in the "Arno 30" drill in Florence, one of the most important drills performed in Italy and Europe. There was much trumpet-blowing by the mass media at national and international level and the participation of CISOM was given prominence also by national TV broadcasting companies.
As in the previous years, CISOM performed many services and organized training courses within the framework of its institutional activities.
The Corps intervened in various quake-stricken areas in Umbria and the Marches, involving 300 volunteers for more than two months.
1,585 volunteers were employed during the year, for a total of 8,750 working days .
s2,063 volunteers were employed for a total of 12,099 working days; one of the most important services was the one performed in Rome during the "Piranesi and the Aventino" art exhibition, which involved 14 volunteers in 87 days, totaling 1,218 working days.
The spirit of sacrifice and the high sense of duty of Mr. Marco Torroni, Head of the Rome Group, a Police officer authorized to bear weapons, and of the coordinator of the CISOM Group of Rome Mr. Piero Cesaretti also allowed to provide night surveillance services, which is not an institutional duty of the Corps.
Seven tents were mounted and equipped as First Aid Stations during the visit of His Holiness John Paul II, after the Youth Convention in Bologna, involving 80 volunteers and 3 ambulances.
A First Aid service for the pilgrims in the Cathedral was performed on May 24-30, during the exposure of the Holy Shroud in Turin .
2,389 volunteers were employed in institutional services and refreshment courses, for a total of 10,179 working days.
The main services performed included:
While assistance services are still being provided to Kosovar refugees, many volunteers have been involved throughout the Holy Year 2000 with ambulance-equipped medical stations in the four major Roman Basilicas.
CISOM owns the following vehicles:
19 ambulances, 1 truck, 3 camp kitchens, 1 mobile analysis lab, 5 vans, 9 off-road vehicles, 6 trailers.
All Groups have acquired, by initiative of the persons responsible, the necessary materials to carry out their institutional functions.
It should be mentioned that the following vehicles and materials of the Rome Group, obtained by my initiative, by virtue of the agreement entered into the Grand Chancellor and the Minister of Civil Protection on January 28, 1991, published in the Official Gazette no. 164 of July 15, 1991, are kept in the premises of the Multi-Purpose Center of Castelnuovo di Porto, made available by that Ministry.
The volunteers have shown their high sense of unity during the celebrations for the 9th Centennial of the Order; although the date of the event was a business day, a huge number of volunteers arrived from all over Italy, at their own expense and marched in parade flying the flag of the Order and reaping the cheers and admiration of the public, that had never seen a similar crowd of "Red Caps". The mission of these people is to relieve the distress of the needy, ease the pain of the suffering, lend assistance in calamities with no other consideration than translating their motto "Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum" into reality.
The vehicle fleet has been updated with the purchase of certain transportations means intended to improve Corps efficiency, especially considering the remarkable commitment of CISOM during the Holy Year in the four Roman Basilicas .