Following the announcement from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to proceed with a grant of €25 million to support the work of the Hellenic Fire Department, we discussed with the Chief and his colleagues the needs of the Department and the areas to which the SNF could contribute.
The SNF Co-President, Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos, suggested to the Chief, Lieutenant Fire General Vasileios Matthaiopoulos, to primarily examine the needs of the firefighters (equipment, training, psychological support, etc.) and, secondarily, the possibility of enhancing the Department’s aerial resources, through a grant by the SNF. Mr. Dracopoulos stressed the need to support the Department starting from its base, namely the people fighting on the front lines of the fire, to ensure that the Department, as a public institution, continues to offer its immense work for years to come. In addition, the SNF proposed that the Fire Department, in collaboration with the municipalities of the country, develops training programs for citizens on how to respond in emergency situations.
The Chief and his colleagues agreed with all of the suggestions put forward in the discussion. It was also mutually agreed that the Fire Department’s leadership would list, in detail, the needs of the organization within the next few weeks, in order to proceed with the immediate implementation of SNF’s grant.
Note: At today's visit to the Coordination Center of the Hellenic Fire Department, we were welcomed by a photo of the Super Puma helicopter that the SNF granted to the organization 17 years ago. The helicopter was heavily used in combating the recent devastating fires that hit Greece.