Portugal Safety and Security Report Thursday 7th December 2023
Good morning everyone. The 3rd December marked the International Day of persons with disabilities. More than 1.3 billion people experience significant disability today, which represents 16% of the global population. Many persons with disabilities die earlier, are at increased risk of developing a range of health conditions, and experience more limitations in everyday functioning than the rest of the population. Persons with disabilities are often disproportionally affected by disasters and have different and uneven levels of resilience and capacity to recover.
Many are socially or logistically isolated and lack access to evacuation warnings and appropriate transportation for themselves, for those who care for them and any medical equipment necessary for their well-being. When we consider and take action concerning disaster preparedness, be it rural fires or flooding we can do our part by ensuring that family members those we know with disabilities are also prepared. We can do much to help them.
Turning to the subject of using phones whilst which despite being a dangerous practice is the cause of many serious and fatal road accidents. In Portugal, despite the results obtained in the last two decades, on average, 650 people lose their lives on the road each year. A number far from the only acceptable number: ZERO.
The temptation to respond to calls and notifications from your cell phone is the cause of many accidents, whilst driving. Texting whilst driving is the most dangerous distraction. Campaigns being conducted by the ANSR, GNR and PSP emphasise that: Using a cell phone while driving increases the likelihood of having a car accident by four times; at 50 km/h, looking at your cell phone for 3 seconds is the same as driving a distance of 42 meters blindfolded, the equivalent of a line of 10 cars and, using a cell phone while driving increases reaction time to unforeseen situations greater than the effect of a blood alcohol level of 0.8 g/l. It begs the question therefore why would anyone use their phone whilst driving given these facts?
To reduce the risk while driving and avoid this dangerous distraction, opt for one of the following strategies: Turn off your cell phone, or activate silent mode; place the cell phone in the glove compartment or in a place that does not allow access; turn on voice messages so people can leave messages while you travel; stop at an authorized and safe location to check or return urgent calls; avoid, whenever possible, using hands-free mode and take the initiative to say that you will call back later, whenever you realize that the person you are calling is driving. Fines range from €250 to €1250, driving ban from 1 to 12 months and 3 points deduction on licence.
With the winter season upon us there is a bigger demand on heating appliances and other equipment used for keeping us warm at this time of year. It is also a time when there is an increase in household fires. Many electrical fires can be prevented by following some simple electricity safety tips. These include checking electrical wires for wear and tear – replace any that are damaged; avoid overloading plug/power sockets; checking that you’re using the correct wattage in all your fixtures and appliances and switching off and unplug Christmas them before you go to bed or going out.
Whether you own or rent your home, it’s important to know the signs of a potential electrical problem. Look out for scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason. These could all be signs of loose or dangerous wiring. If in doubt get them checked by a qualified electrician; you are within your rights to ask this of your landlord if you are a tenant.
We congratulate the organisers and volunteers who support The Food Bank’s campaign against Hunger who collected almost 2,300 tonnes of food from last Friday to Sunday, 10% more than in the same period last year. The president of FPBACF Isabel Jonet, recalled that there are more and more people experiencing serious financial difficulties: “When people ask for help with eating, it is when all other requests for help have been exhausted. It’s not easy to ask for help with eating.” There are around two million people who live on less than 591 euros per month remembering that half of these people live on less than 224 euros. A most worthy cause.
Our team wishes you a safe week ahead
Lisbon – Earthquake Emergency Response Planning
Lisbon, 05 Dec 2023 (Lusa) – The organized response of emergency services to an earthquake can take up to around 72 hours, which is why the Municipal Civil Protection Service (SMPC) of Lisbon is working with parish councils to plan relief.
According to Margarida Castro Martins, director of the SMPC in Lisbon, the experience of other earthquakes suggests that it is estimated that the organized response of the emergency services “may take up to around 72 hours”, that is, three days, and that in this period 95 % of the help is provided by the population, family, neighbours and friends.
The person responsible, who was speaking at an initiative promoted by the association Lisboa E-Nova – Lisbon Energy-Environment Agency, on “Local Emergency Planning”, explained that the city council is thus preparing with the parish councils the prevention and response to the occurrence of an earthquake and ‘tsunami’.
This takes into account that no one knows the territory and the populations better than the parish councils, their workers and their residents.
The SMPC leader highlighted that the seismic risk in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (AML) is considered “high to very high” and that the basis of the capital’s municipality’s response is the Civil Protection Special Emergency Plan for Seismic Risk in AML and neighbouring municipalities.
The Lisbon municipality, with 24 parishes and 545,796 inhabitants, has Lumiar as the most populous parish, with 46,334 residents, and Misericórdia as the least populous, with 9,658 residents, who naturally have “different realities”, and only Local Units of Civil Protection (ULPC) in the parishes of Alcântara (2016), Misericórdia (2020) and Penha de França (2021).
The municipality is preparing local emergency plans in the parishes of Avenidas Novas, Beato, Belém, Campo de Ourique, and updating those of Arroios and Olivais.
In addition to seismic risk plans, the municipality is also promoting an evacuation plan for the riverside area in the event of a ‘tsunami’, with a warning and alert system, following an earthquake.
The municipality already has two sirens installed, in Praça do Império, in the parish of Belém, and in Ribeira das Naus, in the parish of Santa Maria Maior, and has two more planned for 2024, in Doca de Santos, (Alcântara) and Estação de Santos (Estrela), foreseeing at least six more sirens in riverside parishes, by 2026.
The national director of risk prevention and management at the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC), Carlos Mendes, presented the work carried out on the seismic risk assessment in AML, which is also used for the plan for the Algarve region.
The official also highlighted that in these types of events “the first response is mainly a proximity response”, which “often is not even carried out by organized relief structures” and that, in the first hours, “citizen mutual aid mechanisms” operate mainly. .
The emergency plan for AML and neighbouring municipalities involves more than a hundred entities “for a coordinated response” to an earthquake situation, and in the case of an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter scale, means of support from districts of outside the area, and the definition of runways for international assistance, namely the air bases of Monte Real and Beja, or Sintra and Montijo.
International support mechanisms can come from France, Spain and Morocco, but Carlos Mendes noted that, in the case of an earthquake like the one in 1755, Spain and Morocco could also be affected, and therefore help will have to be provided within the framework of other European countries.
The Lisboa E-Nova session, according to Eduardo Silva, from the organization, despite some technical problems, aimed to raise awareness of the seismic risk in the city of Lisbon and in AML, with the aim of guaranteeing a culture of prevention, urgent to anticipate not only “the capacity to respond, but also the way in which the response is given”, in a situation of possible catastrophe.