The Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar, stressed the importance of “social networks” as an essential tool for building a more robust and more resilient civil protection system.

In the closing session of the conference “Bravos Heroes – For a sustainable forest. The role of digital”, promoted by the Global Media Group and transmitted online by Diário de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias and TSF, the Secretary of State recalled that, in the last 20 years ago, the whole paradigm of forest protection against fires has changed and that new digital tools are today instruments that, if used well, can contribute to improving the entire system.

Civil Protection intervention in these new times, stressed Patrícia Gaspar, must cover the various dimensions: prevention, awareness, information to the public, but also the response and preparation of communities.

«Where prevention ends and where combat begins are very fine lines. What is information, what are self-protection messages? Everything is mixed and the lines are not always easy to draw. The ordinary citizen, in this particular matter, has an absolutely fundamental role to play. And without that dimension, we will never be able to achieve the goals that are designed for the next decade and the next 20 years, “said Patrícia Gaspar, stressing that it is necessary to resize Civil Protection services, nature protection services and all forces that, directly or indirectly, share responsibilities in this matter.

“This is something that you cannot do as quickly as we would all like to. But this is, for me, one of the great challenges: to be able to transform our public service to rise to this challenge, to have technicians, to have people who can explore and work on this dimension, who can use all the information that is available so that can create a higher level of knowledge and sharing”, she said.

Patrícia Gaspar also stressed that the technological leap of the last decades has been a decisive contribution in supporting the operational decision. “In the great fires of 2003, the National Command of Operations of the National Authority for Civil Protection – at the time the National Fire and Civil Protection Service – received, every two hours, information, in Excel, that arrived by fax, of the 18 District Commands”, recalled the Secretary of State.

“What we have today are screens, digital and minute information. And if that information is no longer available by the minute, panic is created. We made a huge generational leap in a very short time, which will require a great challenge of adaptation on our part, a continuous capacity to work on these issues, aware of the less sympathetic dimension of these tools – and trying to deconstruct the less we have good” she concluded.