He stated “The last site served us very well, and although innovative in design at the time, the increasing and diverse nature of our responsibilities has meant that a change was inevitable. The fact that currently Covid-19 occupies some 30 percent of pages on our site, has exacerbated the challenges concerning navigation and ease of finding information quickly, within a frame work several years old”.

It is not only size and ease of access that is the issue, but the fact that one of the main responsibilities as an official Civil Protection Volunteer Organisation under Portuguese law, is risk awareness, prevention and self-protection especially in terms of rural fires, but other catastrophes as well.

Safe Communities Portugal’s remit under the broad scope of public safety and security is diverse; ranging from crime prevention, cybercrime, civil protection and Covid-19. These span around ten or so Government departments under three ministries. As a result the website is larger than those of many government departments, so this adds to the challenge of ensuring ease of access and navigation. Also there is a need to differentiate what is simple knowledge and creating awareness, as opposed to that which is operational such as during major incidents.

The heart of the operational area is the home page with the areas shown in the photo. It is important that people check the risks and warnings in place each day as well as any major incidents that may be taking place. “These are the features essential for the protection of life and property – so please use them” – David explained

The new site has greatly increased its focus on safe tourism and travel, just in time at the start of the return to tourism. This ranges from beach and sea safety, air and land travel, water sports, rip currents etc. David added that each year people are injured as a result of water accidents so it is important that people are aware of the dangers.

The section on Covid-19 has taken on a new look with re-designed pages which are easier to access and navigate with information that we encourage people to use regularly. This ranges from the latest on vaccines, the various laws in place and other official government news updates.

David explained “For our 44,000 Facebook followers with the launch of the site we have had to change several links on our Facebook page accordingly for those posts over the last week or so. If you do happen to click on a Facebook post to the old site which does not work, then simply go to the new site home page and access from here” - https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/

David added “As you can imagine undertaking this at a time when our resources are stretched dealing with day to day business resulting from Covid-19 has been a monumental task. We have tried to take as much care as we can, but if you find something not working please email us at info at info@safecommunitiesportugal.com subject “New Website”.

We hope you like the new site, find is useful and informative and ultimately provide the information that, if followed, will help you keep safe and secure.”
Over the next few days we will feature some of the new features of the website.

David Thomas
President, Safe Communities Portugal