112 in English

British firefighters could be stationed at service areas along the A2’s Lisbon to Algarve motorway during this summer’s key events. The president of the National Fire and Civil Protection Service, Paiva Monteiro, revealed the plan during the presentation of an analysis of the 112 Service, conducted by DECO, the Portuguese consumer rights association. According to Monteiro, the English firefighters will help Portuguese professionals if they experience difficulty in understanding English-speaking people who may require assistance.

The difficulty in attending emergency calls made in French and English was the main deficiency pointed out by the DECO study. The association concluded that calls to the service were more likely to be unsatisfactorily dealt with when they were made in languages other than Portuguese or Spanish. Questioned about the danger that this could pose to French or English-speaking visitors, Monteiro stressed that the risks were minimal, although he acknowledged progress was still needed in this area. The PSP service, which deals with the calls received on 112 in the overwhelming majority of cases, has already pledged to man its switchboards with more operators who can master rudimentary English and French.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the SNBPC and the municipalities of the Algarve have accredited 16 technicians to make an assessment of safety conditions against the risk of fire in various establishments. There will be one technician in each of the region’s municipalities who will have the responsibility of evaluating safety conditions in areas that are open to the public.