Firefighters, doctors, security forces and even the Tactical Command Center of the National Civil Protection Authority will be at Portimão Arena between Thursday and Saturday, but it will not be to respond to any catastrophe. Algarsafe – International Civil Protection and Relief Fair will return to the city of Portimo and, after the success of the first edition, in 2016, there will be more exhibitors, more activities open to public participation and the doubling of the event area.
Richard Marques, commander of the Portimão Fire Department, which organizes the event in partnership with the City Council, explained to Sul Informação that, after the first edition of the event exceeded expectations, this year “we were more ambitious in the number of exhibitors and activities involved. A month before the fair, we completely exhausted the commercial space, which was expanded compared to the first year. Inside Portimão Arena, there will be 4000 m2 of exhibition space and, outside, we have expanded the fair's space three to four times, with 8000 m2 of outdoor exhibition, with exhibition of civil protection resources and resources, practical demonstrations, short courses duration for firefighters, civil protection agents, but also activities aimed at the general public».
One of the exhibition spaces, which will be «one of the highlights of the fair», will be installed by the company Infraestruturas de Portugal, which «will establish a train line and a level crossing in real terms, with a composition with motorization, which will allow take students from schools in the municipality to know the elementary road and rail safety rules».
This aspect aimed at the general public is highlighted by Richard Marques who guarantees «an inclusive space, not only for firefighters, police officers, but for citizens who can visit the fair and have the opportunity to make contact with response structures and participate in actions awareness of risks, knowing self-protection measures, learning what to do in an emergency… There are the right people to talk about it: those who guarantee the safety of our fellow citizens».
One of these response structures that will be installed in Portimão Arena is the National Civil Protection Authority's Tactical Command Center, which is “the organization's greatest exponent in a complex theater of operations. It will be a very interesting exhibition area where people can have contact with the structure assembled in the field to manage a large operation”.
Richard Marques also promises «some surprises scheduled for the three days. The program is intense and will occupy eight spaces within Portimão Arena with pedagogical dynamics, training, awareness actions, workshops and seminars in various areas. The spaces will always be occupied and there is a great advantage: everything is free».
Among the seminars taking place at Algarsafe, Richard Marques highlights “one of the strongest on the use of drones in civil protection and relief. It is an innovation in this area and speakers from Denmark and Italy will come to tell us about their experience using these equipments. It's a unique opportunity. However, it will be three very intense days and there will be permanent high points», he guarantees.
The expectation of visitors over the three is, according to Richard Marques, of 10 thousand people. «Two years ago, we had 7 and we expect to grow. We already have a history and everyone knows the success of the first edition. Those who did not have the opportunity to visit in 2016 will visit in 2018».
There is also another novelty in Algarsafe 2018 compared to the first edition: the inclusion of the healthcare area. «In the first edition we had the most targeted event for security & safety and now we also include health, with initiatives in the areas of pre-hospital emergency and catastrophe, involving the medical community. There are several moments aimed at this community, which expands the scope of the event's target audience», believes Richard Marques.
Although the event opens at 9:00 am, the official opening of the event is scheduled for 17:00 pm on Thursday, May 24, with the presence of Eduardo Cabrita, Minister of Internal Affairs.
At the ceremony, the Special Device for Combating Rural Fires (DECIR) for the Algarve will be presented by the ANPC District Command, and resilient city certificates will be delivered to all municipalities in the Algarve.
«A representative of the United Nations will be present, who will deliver the certificates to all municipalities in the Algarve, which have joined this UN campaign, through the Intermunicipal Community. These documents certify all the municipalities in the region as resilient cities», explains Richard Marques.
Algarsafe, which is organized by the Humanitarian Association of Voluntary Firefighters of Portimão in partnership with the Municipality of Portimão, through the Municipal Civil Protection Service, takes place every two years and is the largest fair of its kind in the south of the Tagus.