How did the controversy of flammable collars come about? – The Economic Journal

On Friday, the “Jornal de Notícias” (JN) reported that the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) delivered seventy thousand smoke collars, included in fire relief kits, under the “Safe Village – Safe People” program. .

The same newspaper wrote that they were collars made of flammable material and without anti-carbonization treatment, which provoked a series of criticisms to ANPC and the Government, which paid 125 thousand euros for the smoke-free collars. The case has already prompted the Ministry of Internal Affairs to open an urgent inquiry into what happened. Understand what is happening with these quick answers.

How did the ineffectiveness of smoke-proof collars come to light when kits have been distributed since June 2018?
The complaint came from two security officers in the Castelo Branco district who spoke to JN. The problem with the controversial kit, which serves as a first aid to the emergence of fires rather than combat, is that it includes a polyester smoke collar that will not have the expected effectiveness: preventing smoke inhalation through a filter effect. In addition to ineffectiveness, the collar material is flammable and uncarbonised.

According to the cited officials, who also warned of the kit's reflective vest made of polyester, “the collar gets very hot” and “smells like glue”.

Why has ANPC distributed relief kits to populations?
Because of the Safe Village – Safe People program. Since 2018, the “Safe Village – Safe People” program has been implemented in several municipalities, whose main objective is to get people to shelter in emergency situations such as fires. Under this program the Civil Protection decided to give the people a relief kit.

The implementation of the “Safe Village – Safe People” program results from a protocol signed between the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC), the National Association of Portuguese Municipalities (ANMP) and the National Association of Parishes (ANAFRE).

Among others, the program aims to encourage collective awareness that protection is everyone's responsibility, to support local authorities in promoting safety, to implement local fire protection strategies and to raise awareness of the adoption of practices that minimize the risk of fire.

The program is still under implementation and already has 1,507 local security officers.

Who made the smoke collars and the kit?
One company from Fafe, Braga district, Foxtrot Aventura, and another from Arouca, Brain One – both contacted by ANEPC.

How much did the purchase of 70,000 smoke collars cost?
Foxtrot Aventura sold a total of 15,000 kits and 70,000 collars in June 2018. According to the news, anti-smoking collars cost 125,000 euros. In his defense, a Fafe company official considered merchandising and that ANEPC did not refer to Foxtrot Aventura that the equipment "would be used in scenarios involving fire".

After the controversy breaks out, what does Civil Protection say?
On the same day that the complaint was reported, the Civil Protection stated that the materials distributed are not for firefighting or for individual protection, but for raising awareness of good practices.

In a statement, ANEPC recalled that the programs “derive from the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 157-A / 2017, of 27 October, and aim to empower the populations to strengthen the security of people and goods by adopting self-protection measures and simulations to local evacuation plans ”.

And what about the government?
First, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said that the news about the smoke-free collars with flammable material distributed under the Safe Villages program had been “irresponsible and alarmist”.

However, Eduardo Cabrita had an urgent inquiry opened on Saturday on the hiring of fire-fighting material following news about smoke-resistant collars with flammable material distributed under the Safe Villages program.

“In light of the published news on contractual aspects of the awareness-raising material, the Minister of Internal Affairs asked the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority for clarification and called for an urgent inquiry into the Inspectorate General of Internal Administration,” read a communiqué of the guardianship.

Are there direct consequences of the controversy with smoke collars?
This Monday, July 29, the Assistant Secretary of State for Civil Protection, Francisco José Ferreira, resigned after assuming his responsibility in choosing the companies that eventually awarded the manufacture of 70,000 flammable smoke collars.

The contracts in question were coordinated by the Secretary of State for Civil Protection, under the guidance of Francisco José Ferreira, leader of the PS / Arouca who, before joining the Government, was a baker in a pastry shop in Vila Nova de Gaia, owned by his brother. Francisco José Ferreira, 30, with his 12th grade, was appointed to the Government in December 2017.

The National Authority of Energy and Civil Protection (ANEPC) paid 350 thousand euros (total value of the cost of kits and collars) to the companies Foxtrot Aventura – owned by the husband of a mayor of Guimarães – and Brain One – whose owners They have won several contracts with the Arouca Chamber, where the current Secretary of State for Civil Protection – José Artur Neves – was mayor for 12 years.

On Sunday, July 28, the Secretary of State for Civil Protection had blamed Civil Protection for the purchase of flammable smoke collars.

Also following the controversy with relief kits and smoke collars, Sintra City Council, which has 12 villages in the “Safe Villages – Safe People” programs, has announced that it will “immediately collect all flammable components” from the kit delivered by Civil protection. The council, led by Basil Horta, made known that the materials collected will be replaced by "equipment that ensures the safety of volunteers."

Do the companies concerned have more public procurement with the state?
Yes. The public procurement portal – the Base portal – has registered two contracts under the “Safe Village – Safe People” programs with Foxtrot Aventura, one of which is for “self-protection kits”, a name that has been publicly used. for the government.

The “Base: Online Public Procurement” portal contains two separate contracts with Foxtrot Aventura: the “Agreement for the acquisition of self-protection kits under the 'Safe Village' and 'Safe People' programs, signed on June 12, 2018, and the “Collateral Purchase Agreement under the Safe Village – Safe People” programs, dated May 28 of the same year.

Despite reference to stock of specifications as attachments, these documents are not made available online.

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