The preparations and operational planning of the Fire Brigade dominated a meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, Deputy Civil Protection Minister responsible for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias and the leadership of the Fire Brigade.
Mitsotakis stressed the need for greater individual responsibility, because, as he said, "we are not yet done with the adventure of the coronavirus."
"We have more staff this year, better personal protection for our firefighters, better organisation of the firefighting equipment and better overall organisation of the Fire Brigade, but also of Civil Protection, so that we can respond quickly and efficiently to any challenge," he said. However, he also referred to the issue of the coronavirus, pointing out the importance of individual responsibility and calling for collective cooperation.
"Once we begin moving in the direction of a gradual easing of measures, the concept of individual responsibility becomes more important. Of course, the state is doing what it can: Advising the citizens, giving them the appropriate instructions, but beyond that, avoiding overcrowding and congestion is the ultimately the responsibility of the citizens themselves. And here I would like to repeat my appeal: We are not yet done with the adventure of the coronavirus. We have taken significant steps, but if we are not to be forced to tighten measures, as we were forced to do several weeks ago, we need collective cooperation and individual responsibility. Yes, more people will be on the streets, they will be on the beaches, in a few days they will be back in restaurants. But individual responsibility is always required, use of a face mask where a mask is mandatory, strict observance of personal hygiene and, especially, avoiding close contact with our fellow citizens outside the close family environment," Mitsotakis underlined.
During the meeting, the organisational changes that have taken place in recent months were highlighted, with the aim of speeding up firefighting throughout the country and strengthening the Fire Brigade in terms of human resources and logistical infrastructure, despite the health crisis caused by the coronavirus.
On the infrastructure front, the fire brigade is to get more aerial and ground equipment, and further leases are being considered to cover any gaps that may arise due to the aging of the Canadair firefighting aircraft.
It has already been reported that the Fire Brigade has been reinforced with 126 vehicles - of which 83 have been delivered and the rest are to join its fleet by June - while the Air Force will have three more heavy helicopters than last year.
Also, in terms of staff, the Fire Brigade has been strengthened with 1,300 additional seasonal firefighters, a procedure that will be completed within the current month, while last year the equivalent recruiting process for fewer staff was completed in July.