Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov has held a press conference today at TASS news agency to discuss Emergency Ministry’s performance in 2017, its main achievements and outlooks.
The Minister said that the number of man-caused fires in Russia had dropped by over 6% against 2016. He added that over 200 thousand people were rescued, 228 crisis situations, natural and man-caused fires which required involvement of federal forces were dealt with thanks to joint efforts of firefighters, rescuers, medical workers and other specialists.
“More than 114,000 man-caused fires have been put out since the beginning of the year and some 150,000 people were rescued from those fires. We keep up with preventive measures and thanks to them the number of fires has dropped by 6.4% against the previous year,” Mr. Puchkov said and added that over the past 5 years the situation with fires and their aftermath in the country had had a stable tendency towards better – the number of fires fell by 14.3% between 2012 and 2016, the number of people killed in fires fell by 24.8% and the number of injured by 19%.
The Minister pointed out that Emergency Ministry’s fire and rescue divisions responded to road accidents more than 98 thousand times, while bomb squads disarmed and destroyed more than 46 thousand explosive devices, including 1,295 aerial bombs.
In addition, the Emergency Ministry in conjunction with the Health Ministry carried out medical evacuation of 652 people using aerial rescue technologies and modern life support methods.
Summing up the year, Mr. Puchkov also drew attention Emergency Ministry’s water safety efforts.
“All the services performed well on the bodies of water. The number of small vessels has been rising by 100,000 units each year for the past 5 years, but the number of accident on waterways has been going down stably,” the Minister said.
The Minister also mentioned the decrease of the number of accidents at mines.
“Mine rescue service has been developing very fast this year. There are much fewer accidents at mines, construction and metallurgy facilities covered by mine rescuers,” he said.
Mr. Puchkov also said that employees of response crews were getting new uniforms this year.
“Following the order of the Russian Government we introduced new norms of clothing allowance for the personnel of the federal fire service and other divisions: we now have the most modern gears to work in hot regions and in the Arctic. For the first time our divisions are getting such comfortable cloths as polo-shirts, jeans, trainers and others,” the Minister said and stressed that great attention was paid to supplying response crews with clothes and equipment.
“In 2017, we developed the potential by purchasing the most modern firefighting and rescue equipment,” the Minister said.
Talking about preparing for New Year holidays, Mr. Puchkov informed that all divisions of the Ministry were going to work overtime.
“The Emergency Ministry is going to be on high alert from 25 December to 10 January. This means that all inspectorates and inspectors are going to be involved in ensuring safety during New Year celebrations,” the Minister said.
Discussing results of Ministry’s inspecting activity, the Minister pointed that the Ministry was reducing administrative burden on business, keeping and even increasing protection of businesses against risks and threats. More than 1 million SMEs in Russia won’t have any unplanned inspections. The Minister added that employees of such enterprises have to tackle staff safety on a new level and stick to all safety rules for potentially dangerous technological processes. According to him. Special attention would be paid to training those staff in 2018.
“The Emergency Ministry has reduced the number of checks by 30% against 2016. And last year also saw reduction,” Mr. Puchkov reminded. “This is a two-way street – we reduce the number of inspections, but increase potential and develop other safety areas.”
The Minister explained that the Ministry named year 2018 the Safety Culture Year and was planning together with regions to take a number of steps aimed at training and teaching all categories of the population.
“Using new kinds of communications, including the Internet, we plan to teach all categories of the population how to help themselves and others. This will be a great and serious work involving NGOs, associations and professional communities, including heads of Russia’s leading universities,” Mr. Puchkov said.
He also told the journalists about preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup underlining that the Emergency Ministry was taking a whole number of measures.
“Our special concern is safety of all gusts, stable operation of transport systems, communications and essential services. We have powerful fire and rescue crews ready,” the Minister said.
He noted that the Ministry was constantly building up the potential of those divisions which would work during the Cup and respond to all problems the participants or guests can encounter with.
“We have run necessary drills and exercises. We have taken unprecedented steps to supply response divisions and crisis management centers with equipment. During the Confederation Cup once more checked preparedness of the entire system,” Mr. Puchkov said.
He assured that all 2018 FIFA World Cup safety issues would be tacked on the highest level.
“Of course, traditional Russian hospitality is also a matter of our joint work,” concluded the Minister.