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Funchal is a role model in Portugal in terms of resilience

Funchal is a role model in Portugal in terms of resilience

The city received a recognition award for its Civil Protection Centres

On 20 August, the official website of the Madeiran capital of Funchal announced that the city has received the Award for Good Local Practices in Promoting Resilience. This was the first time such an award was given in Portugal.  ANEPC – the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority promoted the initiative within the framework of the National Strategy for Preventive Civil Protection.

Given its particular geographical position, on an island in the middle of the ocean, Funchal and the whole island of Madeira are quite vulnerable to a variety of natural threats, chief among which forest fires. Those regularly threaten the unique and protected flora there. The local population has learned to live in such risky conditions, but the city government has done even more with the creation of Civil Protection Centres.

Civil Protection Centres were first set up in 2016

Indeed, devastating fires were the main impetus for the creation of these centres, back after the disastrous summer of 2016. The centres are community organizations working on a voluntary basis, which allow residents or the community, in areas susceptible to hazards, to build a collective response in the field of risk prevention and mitigation. 

"The intention is not for people to replace Civil Protection agents, but that they at least know how to ensure their own self-protection, in the first moments of emergency", underlined Miguel Silva Gouveia, the mayor of Funchal.

He continued: “In all the centres, we placed a Civil Protection Kit for the community, we promoted training and drills, and we created First Intervention teams, who are trained, for example, in firefighting. We also formed evacuation teams and First Aid teams with knowledge in Basic Life Support, such as the use of Automatic External Defibrillators (AED)”.

The Award for Good Local Practices in Promoting Resilience recognizes and publicizes the work carried out by municipalities, inter-municipal entities and parishes, in the context of the preparation and participation of citizens. It seeks to support such authorities who take care of their vulnerable residents, in increasing their resilience in the face of serious accidents and disasters.

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