Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov has met today with representatives of non-governmental rescue organizations on the occasion of the International Volunteer Day celebrated in Russia for the first time.
“Today is the first time Russia has officially celebrated the Volunteer Day. I would like to say thank you to all volunteers. A volunteer is a person who listens to their heart and go to help professionals to save those in trouble,” said the Minister.
Mr. Puchkov added that fire and rescue services were going to continue building up their potential, which included the development of volunteer fire department to protect remote rural settlements.
“An important issue of our joint work is searching for the missing. Practice shows that 80% of those who have lost their way is tourists who have been in the rugged terrain for the first time. It’s vital that local residents were able to help them in time,” the Minister said.
The Emergency Ministry supports volunteers by improving its legal framework. Volunteers can be trained in training centers of the federal fire service free of charge. In addition, the Ministry the Ministry provides volunteer groups with equipment: last year it gave over to volunteers 600 fire engines and another 500 are going to be given in 2017. The Ministry also provides grants to support socially active non-commercial organizations. This year, the All-Russian Volunteer Fire Society, which won the grant, has placed an order for mobile firefighting complexes.
One of examples of cooperation with volunteer searchers is the cooperation of the Emergency Ministry with Liza Alert search team that has been going on for 5 years. Career rescuers and volunteers devise methods of working together and then put them into practice during drills and exercises and during real search operations. Both parties see teaching people safety conduct as one of their tasks.
12 volunteers and members of NGOs received Ministerial awards. The event was attended by representatives of the All-Russian Volunteer Fire Society, Liza Alert SAR team, Spasreserve, Searching for Missing Children Association, volunteers of different divisions of the Russian Union of Rescuers (ROSSOYUZSPAS), including Chairman of the ROSSOYUZSPAS's Supreme Council Sergei Shchetinin.
Vladimir Puchkov awards volunteers of non-governmental rescue organizations