A pioneering idea in São Brás de Alportel
Most of the Portuguese firefighter associations are voluntary, although local people and politicians demand – and get – results of a professional nature. For this, they find themselves obliged to have a core of salaried staff, working full time. With few associates and derisory subscriptions, they depend mainly on subsidies from the municipalities, which are not always forthcoming.
AFPOP, based in Portimão, is the association of foreign property owners in Portugal, set up about 25 years ago to help solve basic problems such as registering cars and houses, or paying taxes.
Linda Cree is a British woman, resident in the Moncarapacho area, and she is responsible, as a volunteer, for AFPOP in the eastern Algarve, where some 700 of the 6,000 members live. It was this dynamic, good natured woman who conceived the “Adopt a Fireman” campaign, and the first project is now underway: “Godparents of Equipment”. Why the brigade in S. Brás? “Initially, three fire brigades attend forest fires. Loulé, Faro, Tavira and S. Brás are located in this area. Because of its geographical location, S. Brás is always one of the three to be in action,” she explained to ECO123.
In contrast with other institutions that raise and distribute funds, which leave it up to the respective directors how to use them, Linda decided to personalise the AFPOP campaign by focusing on purchasing personal protection equipment for the 65 operatives to ensure they would all be treated equally. Initially, the idea was to form groups, each one adopting a firefighter. Then it was felt that some could possibly receive more, others less, and some nothing. She drew up the project in collaboration with the chief and the deputy chief of the fire brigade – who know the needs of their men best, and it was decided to buy the equipment item by item for everyone.
Each firefighter needs ten items of personal equipment, costing about 450 euros. The most important, the F2-Xtrem helmet, costs 160 euros. If you add in the visor, you have complete head protection for 225 euros, or half of the total cost. However, it seems that the prices in England are lower.
In a very well publicised campaign, Linda is asking each member for 35€ per year, less than 3€ per month, or three bica coffees per couple, to equip all the firefighters in S. Brás. And she is hoping to be able to present the firefighters with the first delivery of personal equipment in January 2014.
An idea that could be followed in other places by other organisations? ECO123 hopes so!
Linda Cree Casa Rosa
Cx Postal 118Y, Sítio dos Caliços – 8700-600 Moncarapacho
Tel.: 289 798 374 | 912 071 000
(Portimão) Tel.: (+351) 282 458 509
Account for donations:
Banco: Crédito Agrícola
NIB: 0045 7212 4026 0038 518 65
IBAN: PT50 0045 7212 4026 0038 518 65
author image=”https://eco123.info/wp-content/uploads/EU.jpg” ]José Garrancho, originally from Sines, resident in Portimão, aged 63, married with one son. Retired hotel director, trainer, journalist and photographer.[/author]