Thrill the thought! – Portuguese resident


Over the past few weeks, we have reported to Safe Communities Portugal several major earthquakes, for example in Greece, Crete and Japan, but luckily these did not result in a large number of casualties or damage. extensive infrastructure.

We hope that in Portugal we will never have to suffer a major earthquake, but if we do the actions we take in the first few seconds, we can determine whether or not we become a victim.

Every day, around 10 to 15 minor earthquakes occur in or around the Portuguese mainland, the majority off the southern and southwestern coasts of the country. Much more around the Azores.

No need to panic, however, as these are very small, mostly less than 2.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, and are rarely felt. To put that in perspective, there are approximately one to 1.3 million tremors of this size around the world every year. Sometimes some are a little bigger at 3-4 on the Richter scale but rarely do damage at that level.

However, the earthquake of 1755 which destroyed most of Lisbon and parts of the Algarve was much larger.

Seismologists now estimate the Lisbon earthquake to have a magnitude between 8.5 and 9.0, with its epicenter in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 km (120 miles) west-southwest of the cape. Saint-Vincent. Estimates place the death toll in Lisbon between 10,000 and 100,000 people, making it one of the deadliest earthquakes in history.

According to historical records, most of the earthquakes affecting Portugal (mainland) have epicenters in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula (Gorringe Bank) or in the lower Tagus valley. The most vulnerable areas are the urban area of ​​Lisbon and the southern Algarve. Major earthquakes occurred in 1531, 1755, 1909 and 1969.

To raise awareness
Basically, during an earthquake most people die and are injured trying to exit the building from the stairs. Injuries from falling objects actually account for about 70% of all injuries according to experts.

Being prepared involves all of us by creating awareness of the risks and simple life-saving steps we can take in the event of an earthquake.

Thus, each year the Portuguese government (ANEPC) conducts what is called the “A Terra Treme” exercise. Last year was November and over 700,000 people participated, practicing “Drop, Cover, Hold On”. Most schools were involved as well as many businesses.

This year, ANEPC will host on November 5, at 11:05 am, the ninth edition of the national seismic risk awareness exercise. The date indicated for its realization coincides with the World Tsunami Awareness Day, an ephemeris instituted by the United Nations.

You and your family, coworkers can get involved in several ways, such as:
â–ª Lead sessions (for workers / employees) explaining preventive measures and self-protection actions to be taken at home and on construction sites in the event of an earthquake. Does your workplace have a seismic plan?
â–ª Share the A Terra Treme website and other digital media of involvement and participation in this initiative;
â–ª Internal e-mail distribution to all workers / employees of information on preventive measures and self-protection measures to be taken in the event of an earthquake / tsunami;
â–ª Register and / or register your organization on the digital site;
â–ª Review / test emergency procedures to deal with an earthquake and / or tsunami.

be ready
Reading this you might feel like it’s unlikely to happen, so why bother? But how many of you have earthquake insurance for your home or business? If this is the case, it is for a reason, and it is that Portugal is one of the countries at the highest risk; THEN BE PREPARED.

The means to do this according to Civil Protection include: finding out about the possible causes and effects of an earthquake in your area. Talk about it with your family and friends; make an emergency plan for your family; make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of an earthquake; decide on a meeting place in advance, in case family members break up during the earthquake, and prepare your home by having clear hallways and passageways and hanging items securely attached.

During an earthquake
Often times, the instinctive action people take during an earthquake is to try and run away from the property. However, many people die from falling or collapsing structures due to the violence of the tremors.

During an earthquake, if you are inside a building, the advice to reduce injury or worse is: If you are on one of the upper floors of a building, do not rush not towards the stairs; never use elevators; take shelter in the interior doorway, in the corners of rooms, or under a table or bed; calmly move to an open place, away from the sea or waterways; stay away from buildings (especially the most degraded, tall or insulated) from electricity poles and other objects that could fall on you; Stay away from slopes, walls, chimneys and balconies that can collapse.

So, unless you are next to an entrance, the safest place is to drop on the floor, cover yourself under a table, and hang on, which is called “LET IT OFF.” , COVER, STAND UP ”. Experience has shown that calm action during an earthquake goes a long way in minimizing losses.

So at 11:05 am this Thursday whether you are in your office or at home, practice these measures and undertake the preparatory actions mentioned in this file.

Full protective measures and details on earthquakes and tsunamis can be found at and our website This includes protective measures as well as a video we made and an ANEPC online booklet that we translated into English. Safe Communities Portugal is the only official organization of civil protection volunteers serving the international community in English in Portugal

By David Thomas
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David Thomas is a former Hong Kong Deputy Police Commissioner, consultant to INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

In 2011, he founded Safe Communities Algarve to help authorities and the community prevent crime. It is now registered under the name of Associação SCP Safe Communities Portugal, the first national association of its kind in Portugal.

913 045 093
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