Maria Antonia Munar, head of the Council of Majorca, yesterday presented the plan for modernising the island's fire brigade. She was accompanied by Miquel Angel Borrás, head of the environment department, Francesc Buils, the director of the service, and fire chief Manuel Angel Nieto. The Council plans to spend more than 4.1 million euros with the bulk of the funds going towards contracting more staff, providing better training, modernising fire stations and purchasing equipment. Buils explained that the Council fire brigade currently has 148 men but under the modernisation plan, this will rise to 223 within five years. There are also plans to maintain the eight fire stations throughout Majorca open all year. At the moment, some of them are only open in the summer, when the danger of forest fire is at its peak. Buils admitted that many of the fire stations are outdated and need major reforms. Another plan which is being studied, although no funds have been assigned so far, is the construction of a central fire station in Palma, at Ses Veles near Son Reus. Buils said that the Inca fire station takes five minutes to answer an emergency call but the mountain group, specialising in rescues, takes 45 minutes, as the members are based in several fire stations. In the future, this group will be based at one station and will have a quicker response time. Ten new vehicles will be purchased and equipment will be renewed. Munar said that the modernisation plan had been drawn up with the support of the firemen's unions, and she added that the Council was working to build up “a great fire brigade.” The Council of Majorca fire brigade tackles fires and rescue operations all over the island with the exception of Palma, which has its own fire brigade.

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