Overloaded Albufeira firefighters “fail to respond to 1200 emergency calls”

With Easter crowds in evidence – and the looming summer season set to break all previous touristic records – regional firefighters reveal they have a problem.

National tabloid Correio da Manhã explains today that holiday crowds mean more traffic on the roads, more accidents and more calls for emergency services’ expertise.

But while one sector is in rapid growth, the other is ‘stagnant’. Firefighters are not seeing stations boosted with new personnel, nor with any kind of extra resources or equipment.

Said commander of Albufeira fire station António Zua Coelho: “There has been a very significant increase in terms of operational activity for medical emergencies and other areas in which we provide help, but our capability has not grown, in physical numbers or in equipment.

Yet Albufeira is the area that registers 40% of the region’s tourist business, says CM.

“In 2016, for example, firefighters were obliged to refuse 1200 requests for assistance because they had all their resources occupied”, the paper added – stressing that all signs point to this kind of situation persisting.

Calls for help – particularly medical – are also spiralling in Portimão confirmed station commander Richard Marques, saying the way firefighters have been coping has been to “reinforce personnel at determined times and divert resources from (other) planned services”.

According to data from road safety authority ANSR, between January and the first week of April this year there have been 2214 accidents on Algarve roads involving 10 deaths and 38 serious injuries.

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