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Educational programs for Hellenic Fire Corps staff supported by SNF

Nov 18, 2021
Following the devastating fires of 2018 in Greece, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) announced a €25 million grant to the Hellenic Fire Corps to support the people who have the difficult job of fighting wildfires.

The grant includes the construction of a new training center in Nea Makri, Attica, which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022; the provision of personal protective equipment for Fire Corps staff, which has assisted in their challenging work over the past two summers; and educational activities, which are starting to be implemented in their full form now that pandemic restrictions allow.

The first phase of the training programs, starting this week, will run through the spring of 2022. Then, once the SNF Hellenic Fire Corps Training Center is completed, the training courses for firefighters, Civil Protection personnel, and the public will be incorporated into the new center’s programming.

The following categories of training programs will take place through the SNF grant during the next semester:

  • The Empedocles program: a fast-track “training the trainer” program for more than 1,000 Fire Corps officers from all over Greece, who will in turn train more instructors who will directly train all Fire Corps staff. This program includes five thematic modules (effective response to forest fires, earthquakes/traffic accidents/rescues/first aid, hazardous materials, tunnels/highways, indoor fires).

  • Theoretical and practical training in extinguishing ship fires for employees in port fire departments and other high-traffic areas near ports. Fire Corps officers will be trained in the fire simulator at the Hellenic Navy General Staff’s Damage Control School.

  • Training and certification of Fire Corps staff and trainers on the topics of hazardous materials, indoor fires, and road traffic collisions at the Fire Service College in the United Kingdom.

  • Work at Height IRATA, a program of theoretical and practical training and IRATA certification for response and rescue in cases related to work at height.

  • The Advanced Storm Water and Flood Rescue training program.

  • The Training of Storm Water and Flood Rescue Instructors and First Aid School in a Non-Urban Environment program.

At the launch of the Empedocles program in Athens, SNF Board of Directors member George Agouridis said, “With the resumption of the training programs that were put on hold due to the pandemic, we are happy to be able to contribute to ongoing training to bolster the Fire Corps’ human capital. The training programs supported by SNF’s grant aim to improve the professional training of all firefighters in order to ensure their safety while carrying out their difficult work, and to help them successfully respond to natural and other disasters.”

A few words about SNF’s support for the Hellenic Fire Corps
Since the beginning of its grantmaking in 1996, SNF has regularly supported the Hellenic Fire Corps through grants totaling over €44 million, including the recent €25 million grant. SNF has supported the procurement of a Super Puma helicopter that has aided firefighting efforts for a number of years; the purchase of 15 firefighting vehicles to meet the needs of the Fire Corps and of equipment for volunteer firefighters on the islands of Cephalonia and Samos; the construction of a training center for the 1st Special Disaster Response Units (EMAK); and more. In addition, SNF has supported a long-standing Fire Corps staff training program on forest fires whose participants spend time with the British Columbia Wildfire Service in Canada then train their colleagues in Greece upon return.