Lisbon council is this week set to debate an update of its emergency civil protection plan with a view to, among other objectives, ensuring responses that minimise “adverse effects of a major accident or catastrophe.”
The council was due to meet on Thursday to discuss the proposal, which was first created in 1999 and last revised in 2012 and is described as “a formal document in which the City Council defines the performance of the municipal civil protection system regarding the responsibilities, organisation and concept of operations, in response to an emergency that affects the normal functioning of daily life in the city of Lisbon.”
A new update would aim to adjust the current plan to “the new dynamics in the areas of prevention and emergency response” while also taking into account legislative changes, such as the entry into force of the Basic Law on Civil Protection, the decree-law that created the Integrated Protection and Relief Operations System of the Municipal Civil Protection Law, and also the resolution of the National Civil Protection Commission that approved technical standards for the emergency plan.
After being discussed in a private council meeting later this week, the document will be put up for public consultation for 30 days.
A document elaborating on the suggested revision states the plan aims to “provide, through a concerted response, the conditions and means necessary to minimise the adverse effects of a major accident or disaster”, and to define “guidelines on how the various entities, services and structures” should respond.
Simultaneously, it aims to “promote information to the population.”
According to the document, Lisbon is “exposed to diverse situations of risk, a consequence not only of its physical and socio-economic characteristics, but also of its political and strategic importance, nationally or even internationally.”
Among the “expected types of risk”, the document elaborates, are adverse weather conditions, with extremes of maximum and minimum temperatures; strong rain, wind and rough seas; downpours and flooding; earthquakes and tsunamis; mass movements on slopes, and accidents - air, sea, road and rail - involving dangerous goods from, for example, pyrotechnic or explosive industries and radiological establishments.
The file further lists the collapsing of tunnels, bridges, infrastructure and other structures as well as urban and forest fires as other possible risk scenarios.
The plan can only be activated by the Municipal Civil Protection Commission (comprising council workers, firefighters, PSP, Municipal Police, GNR, local parishes and the National Institute of Medical Emergency, among others) when there is “imminence or occurrence of a serious accident or catastrophe from which high damage to populations, property or the environment is expected.”
Should this arise, “Civil Protection measures and contingency plans involving authorities and other entities and services are also activated, requiring the employment of means and resources and an inherent management of indispensable efforts to tackle the emergency at hand.”