The three-day Emergency Services Congress drew to a close in Palma yesterday and the Spanish Association of Fire Engineers concluded that there is an urgent need for more money to be invested in road maintenance. The Association said that investment has to be increased in order to make driving safer in the Balearics and across the country. But money does not only need to spent on infrastructure, but also on extensive safety measures and protection systems. The Association said that one of the worst and most dangerous features of the country's road network is the tunnels of which the majority lack important and vital safety systems. The conference was shocked by the high number of fatal accidents in the Balearics this year and security chiefs said that drastic measures need to be introduced to reduce the high number of lives lost on Spain's roads every weekend. Palma Councillor for Public Safety, José Manuel Sierra, brought the conference to a close yesterday morning, telling delegates that the number of crash investigations needs to be stepped up in order to gather more information which can then be used to help improve safety. The fire services also believe that all people employed in the public transport sector should be better trained in the areas of emergency and accident skills and that the level of training for pilots, coach drivers etc, should be stepped up in order to reduce the risks of human error. Having watched the simulated airport accident in Palma on Wednesday, the majority of delegates agreed that more exercises need to be organised as such operations provide the best training. A concerted effort is also to be made in improving the level of co-operation and co-ordination between the emergency and security services at local and national levels. Emergency service chiefs also intend to lobby central government over a proposal to make more funds available for the purchase of the latest technological equipment. There were also calls for stricter controls to be introduced to ensure that all companies involved in public transport respect and comply with the safety regulations.

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