EMERGENCIES seldom respect working hours but if one should occur outside them in Balearics, only relatively inexperienced regional government staff could be on hand to find a solution. The Regional Government’s emergency services officials work office hours, Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm, and have weekends and fiesta days off.
They are fully-qualified to cope with any emergency situation that puts the population at risk but personnel from the Regional Government’s Interior department’s Operative Unit who work night shifts and provide year-round, 24-hour coverage are not trained to the same level.
Nor are they sufficiently high-ranking to exercise authority over the emergency services of other institutions should the need arise.
This situation compares badly with Mallorca’s fire brigade, for instance, where a qualified person who is in a position to make decisions, solve problems and liaise with counterparts at other services is always on call.
The national daily El Mundo had highlighted these failings two years ago, it said this week, but instead of improving the situation had deteriorated in Menorca, Ibiza and Forementera while remaining unchanged in Mallorca.
Menorca has only two people for out-of-hours coverage, with the implication that at some point of the day, no-one is on call. Circumstances are slightly better in Ibiza and Formentera where there are three operatives.
The situation was under control and all emergencies were covered without interruption on the four islands insisted El Mundo’s contacts at the Interior department.
However, when asked about the qualifications of out-of-hours personnel they declined to comment further.