“Imagine having PSP and GNR police made up of volunteers …” said António Pina
The president of Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL) has called for the creation of a regional force of professional firefighters.
The issue of forest fires has to be dealt with seriously “once and for all” as the region’s firefighters are almost entirely volunteers, said António Pina at the presentation of the Algarve Seguro 2022 programme.
He also said that the firefighting sector is the “poor cousin” of Portugal’s civil protection services.
“Imagine what it would be like to have PSP or GNR police forces also made up of volunteers,” he said.
“The paradigm has to change,” added the municipal association boss.
Only four of the Algarve’s 17 fire brigades are municipally managed, with all 13 others being managed by humanitarian associations.
The total tally of firefighters at the disposal of civil protection authorities in the Algarve is 1,191.
Portugal’s Minister of Internal Administration said at the programme’s unveiling that the Algarve boasts a “robust” firefighting force in terms of firefighters, equipment, and technology, despite admitting that wildfires are a serious threat every summer.
“The Algarve territory is particularly vulnerable to big wildfires and demands great commitments in terms of prevention, and when necessary, and firefighting,” said José Luís Carneiro.