SIRESP did not fail in the fires recorded so far in Portugal

Deepak Gupta August 17, 2022
Updated 2022/08/17 at 7:42 AM

With the number of fires recorded in Portugal, the SIRESP communications network is once again a topic of discussion because of the case of the uncontactable firefighters.

The president of the SIRESP network, Brigadier General Paulo Viegas Nunes, removed responsibilities and explained what could have happened.

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Viegas Nunes said that it is not up to him to decide "on behalf of the operators", guaranteeing that the SIRESP network was "operating permanently". Even so, he admitted that there is a "lack of understanding" about the system and said he wants to bet more on training actions.

"SIRESP works with a queue system", explained Viegas Nunes. Not referring directly to the case of Serra da Estrela, he tried to describe one of the most common problems: "What often happens - and it is perfectly justifiable, because those on the ground have an urgent need to speak - is that the make the call.

Each time such a button is pressed, the so-called "back down" in the hierarchy, highlighted the Brigadier General. This makes the user "add even more delay to the request", he said, although admitting that in emergencies there is not always "peace to wait".

SIRESP did not fail in the fires recorded so far in Portugal

Viegas Nunes raised the hypothesis that the seven firefighters who were temporarily unreachable could have been in an area without a network. He also recalled that SIRESP recommends that the communication devices be either in DMO (direct communication) or repeater modes.

SIRESP network has an Emergency button

The SIRESP network has an emergency call mechanism / Emergency Button. These communications "do not remain in a queue", and must be made in situations "that put human life at risk or that imply immediate action".

The brigadier general highlighted the "resilience" of the SIRESP network, referring that, even in cases of network interruption due to fire, it continues to work via satellite. In the Serra da Estrela fire, it was often "the only network to be active", he stressed.

SIRESP did not fail in the fires recorded so far in Portugal

The session with journalists, which took place at SIRESP's headquarters, was followed by a practical demonstration of how the system works. One person in charge, equipped with a communicator, stayed there, while another went to the basement. The system only worked on Monday, after the person in charge who stayed in one of the offices at the headquarters had moved to the corridor, reveals JN.

The SIRESP network is made up of 550 base stations, it also includes six traffic switches, 53 dispatch rooms and 9 mobile stations, thus allowing communication throughout the territory as well as interoperability between the various users when necessary.

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