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More Heavy Duty Rescue Equipment Needed

Although Madeira’s firefighters are equipped with sufficient heavy duty ‘extraction’ equipment, future investment is imperative, especially as much of the already existing equipment has reached its ‘use by date.’

Yesterday, the Regional Secretary for Health and Civil Protection, Pedro Ramos, visited the Regional Civil Protection Service headquarters, where a ‘heavy rescue’ and emergency survey course was taking place, organised by the Sapadores do Funchal Fire Brigade and the rescue and extraction team from Heavy Rescue Portugal.

Twenty-five trainees (from the Sapadores and the Madeiran Volunteer Firefighters), took part in the training course, which will enable them to carry out emergency lifting of loads, and react promptly, efficiently and intelligently with regards to accidents involving heavy passenger vehicles, agricultural and heavy industrial machinery, in a road/traffic environment.

After listening to Commander José Minas, from the Sapadores do Funchal Fire Company (the only unit in the region with this type of firefighting equipment), explain how the training works and that, although the corporation has sufficient equipment for heavy vehicle accidents, they are having to borrow equipment, as theirs  is now out of date. Responding to this, the Pedro Ramos guaranteed that investments will continue to be made in this area, as the operationality of this service is crucial for the safety of the population.

In the case of equipment loaned by the training company, Pedro Ramos confirmed that equipment of this kind is vital to the island, recalling the Caniço tourist bus incident which killed 29 people, and, more recently, the accident that forced an EACL bus off the road while travelling from Funchal to Assomada.

For his part, the councilor responsible for civil protection at the Funchal City Council, Bruno Pereira, said that future investments had to be extended to the Madeiran Volunteer Firefighters, and that the acquisition of heavy vehicle extraction equipment is high on the list of priorities for the Funchal City Council.

Samantha Gannon

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