NEPC Clarification over the issue of face masks

The following statement was issued today concerning news in the media that the Facemasks issued by the ANEPC to those in high risk areas, were infammable.

“NOTE TO SOCIAL COMMUNICATION

Clarification

Following the news published today by the Jornal de Notícias, entitled “Material delivered to villages to escape the fires is flammable”, the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority clarifies:

The materials distributed under the “SAFE VILLAGE” and “SAFE PEOPLE” Programs are not fire- fighting materials or personal protective equipment.

The “Safe Village” and “Safe People” Programs derive from Council of Ministers Resolution 157-A / 2017 of 27 October is aimed to empower people to enhance the security of people and goods by the adoption of self-protection measures and simulations to the evacuation plans of the localities.

This is the first major national campaign aimed at self-protection of the population against the risk of rural fire and awareness of good practices to be adopted in this area.

To this end, as part of the national awareness-raising campaign for the prevention of risk behaviour and the adoption of self-protection measures, various awareness-raising materials were produced and distributed, including the Program Implementation Guide, the Multilingual Awareness Leaflets, the identification markings of evacuation itineraries and places of shelter or refuge and emergency kits.

It should be stressed that these materials do not assume the characteristics of personal protective equipment, much less fire-fighting. It is rather information and awareness-raising material on how populations should act in the event of a fire, increasing the resilience of the population to the risk of rural fire.

Bearing in mind the responsibility of all citizens in the prevention of rural fires, it is important to strengthen the involvement of the whole community in the implementation of the “SAFE VILLAGE” and “SAFE PEOPLE” programs which, while prevention and pedagogical mechanisms have been shown to be extremely relevant instruments. of rural fires. It is therefore important that everyone, without exception, continue to fight for its dissemination and implementation

 

ARTICLE IN THE OBSERVER

“Civil Protection distributed 70,000 flammable collars in risky villages. Supplier proposed fire resistant material, but ANPC found it expensive. He says collars are for “awareness” and won’t collect them

Civil Protection has distributed over 70,000 flammable face and neck smoke protection collars to populations that can be hazardous if used in a fire scenario. The turtlenecks – which were supposed to be a protective mask in a fire scenario – are 100% polyester and have been distributed since summer 2018 in various villages in risk zones under the Safe Village and People programs. Safe ”. The collar supplier himself told the Observer that he proposed that the masks be made of flame-resistant material , but the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) declined  to be more expensive, and claimed that the collars were distributed in a logic of ” merchandising” and ” advertising “. The ANPC tells the Observer that the collars are for the purpose of “ sensitizing ” the program only.

There are now 70,000 collars distributed to populations in risk zones that not only do not protect – although they have been distributed as such by the authorities – but also increase the risk to those who wear them. If the popular wear these masks in an extreme setting, a spark may be enough to get your face burning in seconds.

ANPC, through an official source, justified to the Observer that under the “Safe Village” program several “awareness material” were produced and distributed, such as the program implementation guide, the multilingual awareness leaflets, the identifying signs of shelter or shelter, emergency kits and collars, thus serving as a stimulus for local implementation of the programs.

Although the collars were presented to the population as part of a fire protection kit, ANEPC denies that they have this function or that people wear the collars in the event of a fire. “It should be noted that these materials do not assume the characteristics of personal protective equipment , nor are they intended to provide increased protection in the event of response to rural fires, but are made of sensitization material . “ ANPC wrote in response to the Observer.

The Observer asked ANEPC whether they would collect the flammable collars – so that the population would not be at increased risk – but could not answer that particular question. ANEPC chose to point out that this action “is the first major national campaign aimed at self-protection of the population against the risk of rural fire, as well as awareness of good practices to be adopted in this area”.

Asked by the Observer as to why he had not made the collars in a material other than polyester, the owner of Fox Trot (a sole proprietorship), Ricardo Fernandes, explained that this was not his initial proposal. “We proposed a fireproof material to be fire resistant, but they didn’t want to because it was more expensive,” he explained. And he added: ” The non-flammable treatment would be a much higher value, at least more than twice the value .”

As for polyester, the owner of the company admits that “the collars as they were made are flammable, but we were told it was more for advertising, for merchandising , not for people to use in an extreme situation.”

 


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