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Vol. 59, n.4, December 2018
pp. 575-588

Elapsed time: 40 years. What young people of Friuli Venezia Giulia know about the 1976 earthquakes, natural hazard and seismic safety

L. Peruzza, A. Saraò, C. Barnaba and G. Massolino

Received: 28 December 2017; accepted: 27 February 2018

Abstract

The 40th anniversary of the 1976 Friuli earthquakes has been an opportunity to revitalise the memory and awareness of living in an earthquake prone country. Among several activities we organised, a placement test on past and actual natural hazards was proposed to the students visiting the Udine seismological laboratory. The test was compiled by 422 students and 35 teachers from middle-high schools of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in anonymous form and on a voluntary basis. The sample includes both municipalities heavily damaged in 1976, and localities with light or no damage. The answers clearly show that the knowledge about the facts of the 1976 earthquakes (where, how long) is inadequate, with 11-13% right answers: better known is the social impact (deaths, 35%). Young people have a vague perception about the major natural hazard they are exposed to, and the answers are often infl uenced by false beliefs. All interviewees underestimate the frequency for devastating events in Italy. The good news is that students have a realistic awareness of the vulnerability of their school, are conscious of the risks of non-structural elements, and well trained to react during an emergency. Conversely, the concept of seismic prevention by reinforcing and retrofi tting buildings is overlooked. As the memory of earthquakes vanishes in one generation only, the efforts in seismic risk communication have to be strengthened.



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