Associação Safe Communities Portugal, was formed 10 years ago to help fulfil that purpose and since then has worked closely with government in the area of civil protection, both in preparedness of the population in the event of major fires and storms for example, as well as keeping people informed during major incidents.
Part of our work is communication through Facebook, which dates back to 2009; in fact before Safe Communities was formed. Since then it has developed considerably covering many different public safety and security topics, including major incidents such as: the Albufeira floods in 2015, the 2017 fires, Monchique fire 2018, Hurricane Leslie in 2018, Hurricane Lorenzo in 2019 and of course Covid-19, to name but a few. It has a current following of just over 55.000.
We constantly monitor and review the various threats that face the country, seeking the views of various experts and one of the threats is the impact of climate change. Whereas this affects the whole country, there is a need to give particular attention to the mainland northern areas.
This region is experiencing a more extreme climate, especially so in inland areas, with temperatures over 40C in summer and below zero in winter. It can be nearly 100% relative humidity one day, but below 10% a few days later. Hail storms with localised flooding are becoming more frequent. Over 70% of fires in July were in this region.
Looking ahead, according to experts the warming of the Atlantic may give rise to unstable weather conditions in the autumn resulting in an increase in extreme weather phenomena (cyclones and even hurricanes) moving closer to us. Tracking these in previous years has shown the impact mainly in the centre and north of the mainland.
We therefore need to anticipate, plan ahead, be prepared and take initiatives to help address the threat. As a result on 6th August 2022 the association launched a Facebook group: “Safe Communities Northern Portugal Situation Alerts”.
The group will cover the Districts of Porto, Braga, Vila Real, Guarda, Bragança, Aveiro, Viseu and Viana do Castelo as well as incidents that may develop to the south in Coimbra, Leiria and Castelo Branco. This will be dedicated to civil protection subjects covering: the impact of extreme weather, rural fires, floods, cyclones and other major incidents that affect public safety. The focus is on awareness, preparedness and actions during events themselves.
Response has been encouraging and in its first 24 hours 300 people joined the group and the number is growing. Feedback has been extremely positive.
Members of this group, (both residents and visitors of the area), will have greater access to relevant and well sourced information, which will help people be prepared and therefore help reduce the impact of these major events. When these do take place this will also provide a forum where people can share and keep track of the effects, which will help you and others in the community as well.
The Group is administered by Susan Wright based in Porto and David Thomas, plus Fernanda Gonçalves as Moderator. Pedro Taboada (Former Bombeiros Commander in Porto) and others will provide technical support.
We welcome people to the group and hope you find this useful.
The Safe Communities Portugal Facebook page will continue as usual providing, civil protection, public safety, crime prevention and cyber security information and advice.
Safe Communities Portugal
Safe Communities launches new Facebook group covering the northern parts of Portugal
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