Πέμπτη 23.05.2024 ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ

50 forest rangers coming to Corfu before Easter

Civil Protection
07 Μαρτίου 2024 / 16:28

CORFU. There was a wide-ranging meeting under Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Vaggelis Tournas to discuss preparations ahead of the upcoming fire protection period.

Corfu Fire Department will be reinforced with 50 forest rangers before Easter, while a competition is underway for the procurement, through leasing, of 41 aerial units, some of which are intended for the needs of Western Greece, which will also cover the needs of the Ionian Islands.

These announcements were made by Deputy Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Vaggelis Tournas, following the conclusion of a wide-ranging meeting held this morning in the former prefecture's conference room, as part of the preparations for the new fire protection period, officially starting on May 1.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Fire Chief, N. Roumeliotis, the Operations Coordinator for Epirus, Western Macedonia, and the Ionian Islands, Christos. Bokas, the Regional Authority, the island's mayors, Corfu Fire, Police, Army, and Coast Guard officers, the Director-General of Forests, while elected officials from the other Ionian islands participated online.

Reinforcements

Mr. Tournas particularly referred to climate change and its serious consequences, emphasising the need to strengthen the civil protection mechanism both with human resources and equipment. In this context, he said that one of the 16 Special Forest Firefighting Units (EMODE) to be deployed across the country will be installed in Corfu, with the aim of allowing the forest rangers, who will be transported by air, to intervene immediately and prevent fires.

"This year we are adding another 650 forest rangers to the existing 500, and I want to let you know that a unit will be installed in Corfu specifically for the safety of the island," he said. "The forest ranger unit, which will be based here, will be able to be transported directly and quickly to the fire site by a helicopter that will come, pick them up, and take them where needed."

Regarding the issue of housing them, given that finding accommodation is one of the top issues in Corfu, he stressed that it will be resolved before the unit arrives, and the assistance of local government has already been requested for this purpose.

AEGIS programme

Reference was made to the national civil protection programme "AEGIS," with €2.2 billion, comprising 39 sub-programmes, one of which concerns the procurement of 1,800 vehicles not only for the Fire Department but also for the Municipalities, which will be gradually reinforced over time with construction machinery, population evacuation vehicles, aerial means, etc.

Regarding the latter, it was announced that Western Greece will be reinforced with additional aerial means through the ongoing tender for a total of 41 leases. "Soon, we will have aerial units that can conduct both surveillance and immediate intervention and fight the fire to suppress the incidents," said Mr. Tournas. "The bases will be located throughout Greece, according to the operational planning done by the Fire Department. What I can tell you is that Western Greece, Epirus, and the Ionian Islands are being strengthened in this aspect."

 

Clean-ups

The Deputy Minister requested both from the Regional Authority and the Municipalities to proceed with the necessary clean-ups of watercourses and all measures provided by the "IOLAOS" plan.

Reference was also made to the particular issues of the old town due to its morphology. When asked about it, he stated: "The Fire Department has the means; of course, operational requirements have been set regarding the special vehicles needed in such an area with narrow streets and alleys and relatively tall buildings. Of course, with the forces it has, it can respond, but it has highlighted the relevant operational requirements that are in the implementation phase."

MARIA BAZDRIYIANNI

Photos: Enimerosi