Reported: 1637 hrs 7th July 2022

Num. Oc. 2022140040647

Forest Settlement

UPDATE: 0900 hrs Friday 8th July 2022

The bush fire in the parish of Freixianda, municipality of Ourém, that broke out on Thursday continues to be active.

As at 0831 hrs on Friday 8th July 504 operatives supported by 151 vehicles and five helicopters/fixed wing aircraft are deployed according to the Civil Protection page. Two INEM Immediate Life Support Ambulances and a crawler machine are also deployed on site.

Last night the District Command of Relief Operations (CDOS) of Santarém confirmed to Notícias ao Minuto that the fire was raging with “intensity”.

The fire has caused three minor injuries, including two firefighters, one with minor burns and the other with signs of exhaustion, as well as a woman who suffered a panic attack.

Last night the fire has an active front and is a reason for “concern” because it has already managed to enter the town of Abades. According to the operations commander, the fire is raging with “less intensity, but still with projections reaching 500 and 600 meters”.

District Relief Operations Command (CDOS) confirmed that the line of fire already extends for a few kilometres. Ramalheira, Casal do Pinheiro and Casal da Sobreira, belonging to the Union of Parishes of Freixianda, Ribeira do Fárrio and Formigais, are the villages closest to the fire, but so far no evacuations made.

“The fire remains very active on a single front. The whole of it is developing in pine forest. Occasionally, projections appear, but not with the same intensity as in the afternoon period [on Thursday]”, said a source from the Command District of Relief Operations ( CDOS ) of Santarém .

According to the Santarém CDOS, at 00:00, the “main concern is related to the protection of dwellings that are in the line of fire”.

“There are homes at risk because there are several hamlets and some isolated houses along this fire line”, he said, saying that “there is no forecast for when the fire will diminished in intensity”.

Last night the authorities also have done the full road closure of a municipal road, between Areeiro and Abades, which will be “open in the short term”.

Damages to a house in Abades by an explosion of a gas cylinder – not knowing if it is directly related to the fire – which did not cause any casualties and a fire in a shed that was hit by the fire in the locality of Ramalheira.

A source from the firefighters told CNN Portugal that one house and two sheds have already burned down and that there are more houses at risk.

Speaking to CNN Portugal, the Santarém District Center for Relief Operations (CDOS) reported that resources are still being mobilized and that the fire is taking place in a forested area, with some scattered homes.



112 – The European Emergency Call Number


Recently I was privileged to visit one of the four 112 Emergency call centres in Portugal. The one I visited was in Lisbon serving the mainland south of Santarém, Leiria and Castelo Branco included. The other three are in Porto, Madeira and the Azores.

Hopefully most of us will never encounter a situation whereby we will need the assistance of the emergency services. However, in case this becomes necessary, it is important to know how it operates and what you will be asked when making a call.

The two centres, one in Lisbon and the other in Porto, are designed to be fully independent and to ensure disruption-free operation, even if one centre experiences an overload or a failure.

Callers to 112 seek help in all types of emergency situations such as rural fires, medical or maritime distress, crime situations, and many others. Fast and efficient responses to those calls literally save lives.

The 112 call centre in Lisbon is accommodated underground and its location not advertised. The centre’s layout is similar to most call centres I have seen in several countries and on one occasion been responsible for. It comprises a massive screen which shows electronically useful indicators such as the number of calls coming in; the details of which operator is dealing with each call, the number of calls over a given period; the waiting time before calls are answered; the duration of the call; and number of calls in the queue etc.

The Public Security Police (PSP) are responsible for the operation of the call centre, but the operators are both GNR and PSP. All speaking English and some, other languages. Having police answering calls in my experience is an advantage as most have operational front line experience in dealing with such emergencies.

It is important to remember that the centre does not deploy vehicles or response teams to emergencies, which is the role of district command/control centres. . In the case of medical emergencies these are passed to the Emergency Coordination Centres (CODU) run by INEM.

Calling 112

I was there about 45 minutes, during which there were around 150 calls received, with an answering waiting time ranging from 3 to 10 seconds. Obviously the more calls that come in, especially during major incidents, the longer the answering time. This takes me to two very important points: the first is that 65% of all calls are NON-EMERGENCY – this can range from lost pets, traffic conditions; the weather and so on – there are also false calls as well. Needless to say this greatly impedes the effectiveness of the 112 system and means that the handling of genuine calls can be compromised.

The second point is that it is vital that callers continue to wait until the call in answered. This may take time when there are many calls – minutes rather than seconds. All incoming calls are in a queuing system, so if you terminate a call and call again a few minutes later, you will be at the back of a queue. This often happens in major incidents and coupled with 65% of non-emergency calls has obvious consequences.

The third point is to remain calm. This is easier said than done when a fire is raging towards your home! However it is a fact that in an emergency people are naturally under considerable stress and when speaking in a different language to the operator’s native tongue, sometimes with strong regional accents, effective communication is more difficult. Try and stay calm and wait and reply speaking as clearly and slowly as possible to the questions asked.

The process

All calls are recorded for legal reasons. The operator enters all the details obtained into the system and this record, giving location, nature of the emergency, , address and phone number etc., (not the recording) is automatically passed to the appropriate district control centre where the emergency is located, e.g. CDOS (Civil Protection), GNR or PSP. It is these centres which are responsible for deploying the appropriate resources to locate the caller/victim and coordinating and monitoring the emergency response.

The details are also automatically passed to the national control centres PSP, GNR or ANEPC in Lisbon. All centres have liaison personnel who can contact their respective commands to ensure coordination.

Try to keep your phone line free until the emergency services reach you. The dispatcher may need to contact you for further information.

Knowing your location

The Advanced Mobile Location (AML) technology is used in Portugal. An AML-enabled smartphone recognises when an emergency call is made and, if not already activated, activates the phone’s GNSS to collect the caller’s location information. The handset then sends an automatic SMS to the emergency services with the caller’s location.

The AML is dependent on several factors in the area where you are located  and therefore the location shown maybe to within a few metres, but can be several kilometres if AML is not enabled. Important for android and IOS phones, ensure in “Settings” that the “Emergency Location Service” is activated.

In giving your location you can use description, such as the road between X and Y for instance: landmarks; GPS coordinates; road numbers: milestones and Safe Residence Program house numbers. The operator may not know the exact point you are referring to, but these details are automatically passed to the district centres who have that more detailed “local” knowledge/information necessary for deployment. Remember when giving numbers speak clearly and slowly to avoid mistakes. If you speak Portuguese this is obviously preferred.

A tip is to write this down with translation and display in a prominent place in your home

Those with impaired hearing
Portuguese authorities have a facility which connects the caller to a sign language interpreter in the operational centre who translates the sign language into speech. This app can be downloaded from website and from Play Store (Android) and App Store (IOS).

What 3words

During the visit Safe Communities Portugal raised the subject of what3words a geolocation system that has divided the world into 3 metres squares. This is used by some emergency centres overseas primarily in UK but not yet in Portugal. This has been followed up following the visit and is being looked into.

David Thomas


Safe Communities Portugal




      Helping Ukraine in this time of crisis


How to make safe and effective donations

The public, as always in times of crisis, has responded generously to help those in dire need in Ukraine itself or who have escaped to neighbouring countries. It’s important that this money goes to those who need it most, those whose lives have been uprooted by fighting.

The devastating situation in Ukraine has captured the hearts of people leading to an outpouring of public generosity in response to fundraising campaigns. But people should think carefully before donating goods or money, so that their donations reach the people who need it most.



Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been in the countries in conflict for decades and warn that the uncoordinated collection of goods in kind may be held up at the borders with Ukraine, as trucks arrive daily with products from all over the world. To avoid waste – as delivery on the ground requires the reception and management of goods, which is becoming complicated – you can guarantee aid through making financial donations instead, using official organizations.

Portuguese Red Cross

On the organization’s official page there is an explanation of the appeal launched by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICVC) and the means are available for you to make the donation.

Donations can be made by bank transfer, through NIB PT50 0010 0000 3631 9110 0017 4. You can also donate money through MB Way, selecting the option “Ser Solidário” or sent to the number 918 391 794, which belongs to the Emergency of the Portuguese Red Cross.

UNICEF Portugal

In order to help children in Ukraine, UNICEF ​​Portugal created a campaign on its official page with “packs” of help already defined, but you can also select the option “another amount” and donate an amount of your choice. For example, with 15 euros you are guaranteeing food for a full day for seven children. Details and donations here

You can also donate through the Facebook and Instagram of this United Nations NGO.

There are also numerous organizations you can turn to for financial donations, such as Save the Children, Doctors without Borders or Global Giving.

Always look for credible, recognized entities with proven evidence on the ground.


UNHCR urgently need your help to continue providing life-saving protection to families forced to flee their homes.

UNHCR has stepped up our operations and capacity in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. We remain firmly committed to support all affected populations in Ukraine and countries in the region.

With teams across Ukraine and in neighbouring countries hosting refugees from Ukraine, UNHCR is providing protection and humanitarian assistance, including emergency shelters, repairs for homes damaged by shelling, emergency cash assistance, and protection such as psychological support.

Just $13 can provide a plastic tarpaulin to a family in Ukraine, to help them protect their damaged home or shelter from the elements.

How to donate and how the money is spent here


We encourage people making donations to do so with reputable organisations and people you trust and know, to ensure that your money gets to its intended cause safely. Check how the donation will be used and how it will reach those most in need.



From north to south of the country, the wave of solidarity for the Ukrainian people has been overwhelming. Even so, as we have already warned, donations must be made in an organized manner. The most important thing is to ensure the safe transport of the donated goods and their reception at the destination.

A tip to ensure effective support is to know how municipalities are organizing collections. The Association of Ukrainians in Portugal is already in contact with many municipal councils, as they have access to structures and resources, and are helping to coordinate spontaneous manifestations of generosity.

If you decide to donate food, opt for products with a long shelf life to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Dairy products may not be the best options to donate, as there is a high probability that they will spoil on the trip if they are not properly packaged. Consult with the organisations who are responsible for the logistics involved and what is actually required.



The huge delivery of goods, in the most varied cities of the country, also needs volunteers to divide, organize and pack the different products to be sent to the border countries with Ukraine or to the interior of the country. Once again, the recommendation is that you look for a way to help, with your time and contacts organisations such as Association of Ukrainians in Portugal to see how best you can assist.



As the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal has stated that medicines in Ukraine are indeed urgent, to treat the many victims that, unfortunately, are multiplying day by day. Still, drug donation cannot be done lightly. The Ministry of Health recommends that official entities be contacted for the delivery of medicines and medical devices, “not only to respond to the needs listed by the receiving country, but also to ensure adequate packaging, without jeopardizing the quality and safety of the articles”.



In addition to cash or goods in kind, there are other ways to help.

We Help Ukraine

The platform created by a Portuguese man with the aim of going global – it has already been praised by the President of the Republic – offers different types of support, such as accommodation, transport, documentation or psychological support. Sign up and find out what you can do here .

High Commissioner for Migration (Portugal for Ukraine)

All people interested in helping can also use the e-mail, created by the public body that centralizes the process of welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees in Portugal.  The e-mail serves, for example, to collect offers of employment and volunteering or availability of reception for refugees arriving in Portugal. The platform is entitled PortugalforUkraine and provides information on those who need help as well as wanting to help. Details here


In the Algarve

Associação dos Ucranianos no Algarve.

This association supports Ukrainian’s in the Algarve through donations and collection of goods for example. Their Facebook page is updated regularly concerning their actives and what is needed including drop of points for goods etc. More details here.


Real estate consultants

The country’s real estate consultants have teamed up to put together housing for Ukrainian families. In one week, the team secured 1750 beds from North to South and has 40 volunteers moderate the offers that arrive. If you have a house that you can make available, contact the team through the Facebook group “Real estate consultants for Ukraine”.

The Order of Notaries and the Order of Lawyers are also helping and have the information available on their respective websites.

In order to be able to welcome Ukrainian families, it is also necessary to understand them. If you are a translator or fluent in Portuguese and Ukrainian, it can be a precious help in the near future. Psychological support will also be essential.




Portugal: Civil society mobilises to carry aid to Ukraine

Lisbon, March 3, 2022 (Lusa) – From Portugal to Eastern Europe, civil society has mobilising to take humanitarian aid to Ukraine and the borders, with improvised locations filling up daily with boxes and bags waiting to travel.

The Benfica parish council set up an operations centre to collect goods at the Baldaya Palace in Lisbon, which began on Monday and, having exceeded expectations, will continue until Saturday.

In the library, the books shelves have been hidden behind hundreds of bags and boxes of donations, which were organised on Wednesday and stored in a warehouse, which is still being built.

These goods are waiting to be transported by two trucks that are leaving tonight for Ukraine, a country facing armed conflict for a week after the Russian invasion.

“We have collected more than 60 tonnes, and we have delivered 20 tonnes”, the president of the parish council, Ricardo Marques, told Lusa on Thursday, saying that, since Monday, that room of the palace is filled daily with food, medicines, toys and, above all, clothes.

At the entrance, Filomena Gaspar carries two large bags of clothes. It was all she could bring herself, and for this reason, she was pleased when the president himself told her that they would be collecting goods until Saturday.

“I think all solidarity is good because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and we may need it”, she said.

Shortly before, Deolinda Ribeiro had also arrived with goods to donate. She had been there on Wednesday and would be back again, she told Lusa, stressing that she wanted to help as much as possible.

“The reaction and the contribution have been overwhelming”, noted Ricardo Marques, anticipating that in addition to the two truckloads that have already been delivered to the churches of Arroios and Nossa Senhora do Amparo and then went on to Poland, those that leave later today for a military base in southern Ukraine and the one that, on Tuesday, will make the journey between Benfica and Romania, a sixth will be needed to ensure that all the goods are sent.

Before leaving, Filomena and Deolinda still met Oksana, a Ukrainian living in Portugal, and her nephew Andriy, who arrived on Saturday from Ukraine.

At the end of the week, she will receive more relatives who managed to flee the country, and the help she received in recent days was such that she wanted to share with her compatriots who are still in Ukraine or at the borders.

“In a situation like this, no one can be indifferent. And even we, who have this difficulty… On Saturday, we are going to be nine people at home, it’s going to be a bit difficult, but we want to give everything we can because they have nothing there,” he said.

The family was prepared to leave the country, and as soon as the conflict reached the city of Lviv, where they live, some took what they could – little more than their clothes, according to Oksana – and left for the border with Poland. Many stayed behind to fight or because they didn’t want to abandon their children and husbands.

“We had a lot of luck that other people didn’t have,” she stressed emotionally, mentioning that the support shown by the Portuguese has moved her. “You have a huge heart, and I can’t describe it. I have no words to thank each and every one of you,” she added.

On the other side, donations were received by volunteers like João Santos, one of hundreds.

“I’ve been here since the first day”, he told Lusa, reporting that the work was intensifying every day, especially on Wednesday, when all the efforts were concentrated to prepare the trucks of today: “We had a very intensive day, with a very big delivery, we had lots of volunteers working, and we managed to have a lot of material organised here to make the delivery”.

Similar initiatives are multiplying up and down the country – from companies, parishes, municipalities, civic movements, and associations.

In Lisbon, another of the various collection points is at Farmácia Miranda, which, after speaking to a Ukrainian citizen living in Portugal who could transport the goods, decided to join in the aid to Ukraine.

There, the adhesion also exceeded the expectations of the clinical director and the small room where the donated goods are kept and from where they leave daily to a warehouse in Loures was already very busy by mid-morning.

“People are showing a lot of unity and compassion for those who, at this moment, need it most”, explained Mariana Noronha, adding that they’ve managed to deliver a lot of things – including clothes and food, but also medicines and first aid material.

“We’ve had immense generosity from the medical profession”, she added, mentioning that they’ve already received several doctors who have offered to write prescriptions for drugs that can only be made available in this way.



Russia attacks Ukraine


On 24th February 2022 Russian forces attacked Ukraine by land, sea and air at multiple points, causing deaths, injuries and damage to infrastructure.

In view of the global impact of the attack, including Portugal’s role as a NATO member, Safe Communities Portugal has created a major incident page where you can find a summary of updates.

The updates can be followed on this page here



Christmas – Fire Safety Check List for your Home


This year, make sure you have two Christmas lists – your Santa list and your fire safety checklist.

Christmas is a time where we all snuggle up in front of the fire, turn on some extra heating around the home, look forward to putting on our cozy pyjamas and of course hanging some festive decorations to get into the spirit of things. This time of the year can also expose our homes to more fire hazards than usual.

In Portugal the vast majorities of fires occur during lunch and diner when you switch on your kitchen appliances. But, and that’s a big one, the vast majorities of deaths and serious injuries occur during night time fires because that’s when you get caught off-guard.

So, this year, make sure you have two Christmas lists – your Santa list and your fire safety checklist.

We’ve compiled important safety tips for eight areas of your home environment that you can put into practice:


Many of us have probably already taken our electric blankets out of the cupboard this winter. It’s important you switch off your electric blanket before going to sleep. Only leave it turned on if it has thermostatic controls which are safe for all-night use. If any of the wires seem damaged or worn, replace the electric blanket.

To safe guard you and your home this Christmas make sure that you don’t:

  • Overload your plug sockets.
  • Plug an extension lead into another extension lead. Make sure to check the rating of your extension leads before use; most will be ‘13A’ which means it cannot handle more than 13 amps or 3000 watts of power at a time.
  • Leave lamps and electrical appliances plugged in overnight.


Cooking is the source of a great number of house fires, with a lot of these occurring during the Christmas period. During this time of year, we’re all using our ovens and stoves more often. Pots and pans can very easily overheat if left unattended on the hob, so if you must leave the room, be sure to turn the heat off and move the pot or pan to a heat resistant surface. Remember to always keep the area around your cooker completely free from combustible items such as napkins, tea towels and food packaging when cooking.

In the event of a grease fire, never attempt to extinguish it with water. Water and oil don’t mix – the water will sink to the bottom of the pan and evaporate straight away whilst causing the burning grease to disperse and spread – instead use a fire blanket to smother the flames. If you don’t own a fire blanket buy one, its money well spent. You can also use a large cloth or damp blanket (not nylon or polyester based) as a last resort and cover the fire completely, eventually extinguishing it by the absence of oxygen.

Please see an example:

Fireplaces and chimneys

If you have an open fire be sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year. Ensure stoves and boilers are serviced regularly by a professional.


There are so many smells that we associate with Christmas; fresh fig, cinnamon, spiced quince, gingerbread and of course, Christmas trees! And it has become increasingly popular to use scented candles in our homes all year round. It’s very easy to forget to blow out candles, especially at night time. A simple alternative are LED tea lights.

However, if you must use real candles, make sure they fit securely into candleholders and keep them well away from anything flammable and at least 10 centimetres away from other candles.

Decorations, Lights & Christmas trees

A simple fire safety switch you can make during the festive period is to use LED Christmas lights rather than traditional lights for decoration around your home. Remember to never leave your Christmas tree lights plugged in when going to bed or leaving your home, even for a short time.

Make sure to avoid hanging decorations above or near to an open fire or stove. Keep your Christmas tree at least 1.2 meters/4 feet away from heat sources such as heaters, fires and candles.

If you have a real Christmas tree, keep it in a pot of water to stop it from drying out and becoming highly flammable. Try not to purchase a tree with brown needles, as these will fall out quickly and become a fire hazard.

If you purchase an artificial Christmas tree be sure it has a CE safety mark and is flame retardant. Only purchase lights that have the CE safety mark.


Cigarettes cause a vast number of all house fires. If you do smoke, try to do so outside because smoldering cigarette butts are extremely dangerous if left near flammable surfaces. Alternatively, keep some water in your ashtrays to ensure the cigarette butts are fully extinguished.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

It’s so important that you have a smoke alarm on each floor of your home, and that you check them regularly. Every home should also have at least one fire extinguisher rated for all fire types (look for A-B-C rating on the label).

The latest fire extinguishers are the ABF Foam Fire Extinguishers, they give you the added advantage of keeping cleaning after the fire absolutely minimal. If you use a dry powder one you have to thoroughly clean after using them, including the interior of all electronics.

Please see an example:

If you have a fuel-burning appliance, including an open fire – make sure to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. You should have one in every room that contains a stove or open fire.


Make sure to keep lighters and matches well out of reach of children and teach them about fire safety.

Create a safety and escape plan for the family to follow in the event of a fire. Make sure that family members know how to use a fire extinguisher and fire blanket.

Prepared by Pedro Taboada

Former Bombeiros Commander and currently Adviser to Safe Communities Portugal




Dissolution of Parliament does not prevent a new state of emergency


By this time, last year, Portugal was already in a state of emergency. One year after the pandemic and with 86% of the population with complete vaccination (and the elderly receiving the third dose), this scenario, despite the worsening of the pandemic situation, is still not on the table. However, with the Assembly of the Republic dissolved from the end of November or the beginning of December for early elections to be held on January 30, the question arises: with the Parliament dissolved, it is possible to decree a state of emergency, if necessary?

According to the regime of the state of siege and the state of emergency, it is possible. The declaration of a state of emergency remains the responsibility of the President of the Republic, after having heard the Government. Subsequently, the declaration must have the authorization of the Assembly of the Republic “or, when this is not in session and its immediate meeting is not possible, of the respective standing committee”, refers the regime. This is the case that Portugal will live in December and January if it needs to enter a state of emergency.

“When authorized by the Standing Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, the declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency will have to be ratified by the Plenary as soon as it is possible to convene it “, adds the regime, specifying that “neither the Assembly of the Republic nor its Standing Committee may, respectively, authorize and confirm the authorization with amendments”. The standing committee is composed of deputies appointed by the parliamentary groups according to their respective representation.

This is corroborated by constitutionalist Tiago Duarte to the ECO: ” The Constitution of the Portuguese Republic expressly says that in the event of the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic, it is the standing committee that decides “, he explains, noting that the plenary of Parliament must be convened immediately afterwards — not least because the current deputies maintain their mandate until the electoral act — for this one to vote. If the declaration fails, the state of emergency must end.

However, the professor of constitutional law at the Catholic University adds that the plenary would be convened “only for the purpose of voting on the state of emergency, leaving it after being in office.” In other words, deputies would not have any parliamentary instrument to oversee and oversee the Government with regard to the regulation of the state of emergency, which is carried out by the Executive in institutional coordination with the President of the Republic.

The standing commission of the Assembly of the Republic will be constituted after the dissolution, which can happen either at the end of November or at the beginning of December. By proposal of the PSD, this permanent commission should have a weekly meeting until January 30th, with the presence of members of the current Government. The parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, Adão Silva, admitted that it is not “usual” for the standing committee to meet weekly, but argued that this will be a period in which “the Government is in full function” so parliamentary oversight has to “to gain the possible dynamic within the constitutional and regimental rules”.


Until an eventual approval of the state of emergency, there are several measures that can be reintroduced since, at this moment, after the last phase of de-confinement, there are few remaining restrictions. Earlier this month, Expresso wrote that the Government was confident that it will not be necessary to introduce a state of emergency — no one has publicly ruled out that hypothesis in the past —, simply resorting to the instruments of the Basic Civil Protection Law depending on the evolution of the pandemic in next few weeks.

Article EcoSapo




Vice Admiral prepares for completion of mission and record of “lessons learned” for the future


Seven months after taking over the coordination of the task force for vaccination against covid-19, Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo is preparing to hand over the key to one of the biggest emergency operations ever – a massive vaccination of the Portuguese population in a time record.

His leadership style, his camouflage, the simple words he used to explain complex issues were the most effective response to the mistrust that persisted for too long, when the Portuguese witnessed the start of a confused vaccination process and where abuses and favours began to spread.

Mission accomplished, Gouveia e Melo will leave the “lessons learned” for future memory and deliver to the Ministry of Health a guide of all the steps that were taken, the organization, priorities and their own impressions.

According to the official source of the task force, it is still the intention of this team to put a text on Wikipedia when the mission ends.

But this indisputable success – measurable, for example, by the fact that 70% of the population was vaccinated before the expected date and that it placed Portugal at the top of the countries with the most vaccinated people (the task force’s forecast estimates that between the 3rd and the 4th week of September reaches 85% of the population fully vaccinated) – was it due to just one person?

A magnetic field

Does the “script” you intend to leave serve for other public bodies? Is this leadership style replicable? What is the secret of this leadership’s success? And what did the vice admiral himself learn; a career military man who had never led a civilian operation?

On the phone in the car, returning from a visit to the vaccination centre in Guarda, last Wednesday, Gouveia e Melo answers the last question: “I learned to work in a less hierarchical system, in which the negotiation process is the essence, which usually doesn’t happen in the military. I learned to negotiate until exhaustion because that negotiation is the glue of the entire operation. I negotiated and discussed ideas until there was almost group consensus. From then on, things work as one magnetic field and all the particles go in that direction. I used this expression a lot of magnetic field – which orients the system’s particles in the same direction and you don’t even need to give orders.”

The task force , it should be remembered, has the mission of coordinating and articulating the various government departments involved in the preparation and execution of the strategic planning of the vaccination process, in its logistical, executive and communication aspects.

It was necessary to speak frequently with an extensive list of entities – municipalities, the five Regional Health Administrations (ARS), the General Directorate of Health (DGS), INFARMED (National Authority for Medicines and Health Products), the Service of Use Common of Hospitals (SUCH), the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority, the Central Administration of the Health System, the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge, the SPMS (Shared Services of the Ministry of Health), the GNR and the PSP.

Gouveia e Melo worked as a kind of catalyst that united everyone with the ultimate goal of obtaining the desired results, motivating each one to assume their responsibilities. “From the beginning I said that I wanted the accountability of the actors. Each one has to feel involved, has to realize that it counts for the whole, for good and for bad. An accountable actor is much more active. This is the most important key “, points out.

Tight control of rules

When he took office in February he was faced with a discredited system and his priorities were to make the immunization plan credible – reinforcing the structure of planning and control of the entire process.

The General Staff of the task force was joined by elite military personnel (mathematicians, doctors, analysts, strategic experts) from the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, just over three dozen, and followed the three objectives defined by the vice-admiral: save lives (age criteria became the system default); resilience of the State (vaccination of professionals, such as police, military (about 10% of the population); liberating the economy.

Throughout the process, there was an exhaustive control of the execution of the guidelines, through mechanisms of permanent verification of the results of the process. It could not be otherwise, for example, the order to close the Porto flare – failures were identified due to non-compliance with pre-defined rules and it could never be reopened without everything being clarified.

The task force coordinator recognizes that this model “may be replicated in extreme cases”, but “hardly in normal situations”.

Even so, he stresses, “there are things that have been done that can be integrated into institutions, such as having reliable indicators of reality that allow for informed decisions, facing problems in an agnostic way. There are political goals, but then there are concrete problems that they demand decisions and results, they are not about ideologies, they are technical issues. The objectives are defined by the policy, but then they must be competent people to do it and not mix the two.”

The material inheritance for the National Health Service (SNS) – and also for other public entities, so wish – of these seven months of a task force against the clock is an unprecedented gift.

“All the information systems we created will become available, the NHS database has been updated and revised, and everything is more structured. Centralized solutions were developed that ended the entropy between the location (health centers) and the central. The Open House model with password can be replicated for all public administration services. The traffic lights system also allows people to see if there are many or few people before going to any service. All these solutions that we have created are independent of the databases and can be used by any service. In the case of SUCH, it had a total upgrade, updated, thought in terms of economy of scale, and selected the best routes. It is a new service that is capable of being a great agent of the State for all public hospitals”, guarantees Gouveia e Melo, giving some examples.

Leader profile x-ray

The leadership of this submariner who emerged into the spotlight has been, moreover, watched with attention by some of the greatest Portuguese experts in behavioural and leadership in organizations.

Confidence, genuineness, discipline, communication skills are some of the key words that characterize it. But they stress that leadership is not a person, but a process to which various circumstances contribute.

The vice admiral had a very clear objective to fulfil and that helped. His technical competence, mission orientation, very typical of the military and his great communication skills were decisive – the option for the camouflage itself was an element of strategic communication, which meant: while we’re at war, this is what I’m going to wear!”, asserts Miguel Pina e Cunha, director of the Leadership for Impact Knowledge Centre at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Universidad Nova.









UPDATE: Unconfirmed sighting in Lagoa by the Galp round about, heading towards Portimao direction at 16.00 hrs on 18th August, walking with her bike.

Pictures of the top she may be wearing, with black cycling shorts, shoes in photo and black helmet (see photo). (unconfirmed)


Dutch National aged 69 years

Last seen at 9.15 on 18th August 2021 at their home in Lagoa. Could have left up to 1300 hrs. This is north of the International school and close to the Sand Exhibition

Bike also missing and she did not take her phone.

She is NOT wearing the clothes in this picture but could be wearing cycling gear with black Sketchers sport shoes

GNR Report has been made

She has suffered from anxiety and depression of different levels of severity and in her life and is currently very anxious and depressed.

She has previously left home and has been reunited with family members, but on this occasion they are particularly concerned for her physical and mental wellbeing.

She is likely not herself and could be disorientated.

She is however a keen cyclist so could be some distance from the place of disappearance

Her daughter Roos Zandstra is coordinating search parties this morning. Her number is 924053253.

IMPORTANT – If you see a person believed to be her, stay with her and use the contacts in the notice. If she requires medical attention call 112.

Safe Communities is in contact with the family who have provided the above details



Rural fire Saboia, Odemira Major Incident

A major fire is in effect  registered yesterday 18th August 2021, We are keeping track of the developments through the creation of a Major Incident page on our website.

This can be viewed here.