September 22, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

European help to fight fires in Greece

Nearly 200 firefighters from European countries will help fight wildfires in Greece as part of a pre-deployment pilot project starting July 1. The first 28 firefighters from Romania have already arrived in our country on their own vehicles.

Young firefighters, mostly under the age of 30, from Bulgaria, Germany, France, Romania, Norway and Finland will be based in Athens, Larisa and Tripoli. Within two months, July and August, they will be ready to assist in extinguishing possible fires by motorized and foot fire brigades.

The mission of the Bulgarians, Romanians and French will consist of motorized sections with their own vehicles, while the Germans, Finns and Norwegians will be represented by teams on foot, with their own pumps and hoses, which will be attached to the Greek vehicles for work. The mission from Norway will bring a drone with them to more effectively participate in the fire response.

How to tell the agency ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ Vassilis Bikas, coordinator of the Hellenic Association of Foreign Mission Officers, the European firefighters will always have contact with the Greek fire brigade officer who will act as a liaison between them and the Greek firefighters. In Athens, 3 firemen will serve as liaison officers, while in Tripoli and Larisa, from one to two. Bikas explains:

“That is, in the event of an incident, when they are ordered to go and cooperate, there will always be a Greek officer with them. First, the Greek firemen will go first, and then they will go to act together, always with the Greek firefighters on site and with the Greek officer.”

The Romanian mission consists of 28 people and 5 operational vehicles, and will be in Athens until July 31. During July, the Romanian firefighters will change shifts once, as on July 15 they will be relieved by 28 other Romanian colleagues who will remain in Athens until July 31. From August 1, 25 French firefighters (motorized units) will start working with 4 operational and 3 auxiliary vehicles, which will be in Athens until the end of the month. The French mission is expected to include firefighters who have been called in to fight forest fires in Corsica.

A mission from Bulgaria of 16 firefighters with 4 vehicles is already in Larisa, which from now until July 31 will be able to cooperate with the Greek firefighters. In addition, on July 15 or 16, a foot team from Germany, which will consist of 16 people, should settle in Tripoli, it will remain there until July 31. Then it will be replaced by 14 Norwegian colleagues, and on August 2, 24 firefighters from Finland will be placed in Tripoli. During August, the Norwegians and Finns will change shifts once, they will be replaced by 14 and 24 colleagues, respectively.

A pilot project to pre-deploy firefighters launched this year. It is implemented through the European Civil Protection Mechanism with the support of the EC and Commissioner Janez Lenarcic, responsible for humanitarian assistance and crisis management.

For the first time, Greece will host firefighters from 6 European countries in advance to assist in fire protection and exchange know-how. The program will allow you to quickly respond to fires, without wasting precious time on the transportation of forces.

Training for European firefighters began this week when 9 heads of mission from Bulgaria, France, Romania and Finland took part in continuous training conducted by experienced fire and civil protection officers, and 4 heads of mission from Germany and Norway took part in an online training.

Today, Saturday, July 2, the Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Christos Stylianidis, will hold a ceremony at the Fire Academy to welcome the mission of Romanian firefighters who arrived yesterday in the country.

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