Saturday, 10 July 2021

Fires in Croatia Will Be Spotted By 500 Fire Observers and 96 Cameras

July 10, 2021 - During the season, 500 fire watchers and 96 cameras will try to spot fires in Croatia as they arise in order to put them out as soon as possible. And Croatian Forests is investing additional funds in fire prevention and public education.

One of the main threats during the summer season are the fires in Croatia that occur mainly in Dalmatia and its islands, but as reported by HRT Vijesti, 500 observers and 96 cameras will be the main resources to prevent them from spreading and can be put out as soon as possible.

Mr. Ante Vedrić works as an observer of Croatian forests on a fourteen-meter observation post next to the Musapstan Forest Park in the suburbs of Zadar. During the fire season, the forest is monitored from June 1 to September 30 in shifts from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. The cameras are also on for 24 hours.

''The observer immediately reports to the fire center, the cameras record it and then they list the firefighters and our observers have a work diary and they record it every beginning of the fire, the end of the fire if the Canadian drops water bombs and we count it'', said Croatian Forest Observer Ante Vedrić .

However, fire prevention begins even before the season, so the Zadar foresters in Žmirići in the Nin-Kožino economic unit performed fire-fighting forest clearing.

''On fire prevention, we primarily work on pruning the lower branches, removing dry branches in the immediate vicinity of roads, cleaning belts, grinding small mass and thus reduce the possibility of forest fires and spread'', said Zadar Forestry Manager Mislav Maršić.

Last year, 200 square kilometers of forest were burned. The wood mass itself is worth ten million kuna, but the damage, due to the general useful functions of forests such as oxygen generation or reducing soil erosion, climbs up to one hundred million. That is why Hrvatske šume financed an additional four cameras this year, and a new tender for the provision of video surveillance services is being prepared.

''The four-year contract costs us about twenty million kuna, but that money is nothing because we heard what the damage is, what damage occurs when the forest burns so all the investments we have and that is from 75 to 100 million kuna as the average in the past four years are actually small investments considering how much fires in Croatia are prevented and how much forests are saved'', said the director of the Forestry Department of Croatian Forests Krešimir Žagar.

''Today we have 96 cameras in four counties: Dubrovnik-Neretva, Split-Dalmatia, Šibenik-Knin, and Zadar, where the cooperation of Croatian Forests with the fire brigades of the counties that Croatian Forests finances a certain part of the duty'', said the Chief Fire Chief of the Croatian Fire Brigade. community Slavko Tucakovic.

In Hrvatske šume, they claim that despite the new cameras, they will always need observers who earn four and a half thousand kunas a month. In addition, foresters will buy firefighters new special vehicles for forest fires because the age of their fleet is 23 years.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Construction of Regional Training Centre for Firefighters Inaugurated

ZAGREB, 30 June 2021 - Construction works on a regional training center for fire-fighters were inaugurated in Brčići in the Vučevica area on Wednesday as part of the Firespill project, which is part of the Italian-Croatian cross-border cooperation program.

The HRK 120 million project is financed with EU funds, including 65 million envisaged for projects in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia.

Inaugurating the works, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the government gave the land on which the center was being built, thereby contributing to the development of that area.

He said Brčići was a good location as it was close to the Operational Fire Command in Divulje, the main fire command in the country, and that he was "confident it is another good example of utilizing European Union funds."

Plenković said the new training center for firefighters was an important project for Split-Dalmatia County and all of Croatia was it would raise fire-fighting to a new level.

He said his cabinet had strengthened fire-fighting and that Fire Chief Slavko Tucaković managed an annual budget of HRK 450 million.

For more news in Croatia, click here.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Firefighters Hold Annual Pilgrimage to Marian Shrine of Marija Bistrica

ZAGREB, 6 June, 2021 - Over 1,200 firefighters from Croatia went on pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Marija Bistrica on Sunday, with several high-ranking officials attending this 22nd traditional pilgrimage.

Addressing the pilgrims before the mass, War Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved recalled the huge contribution of firefighters not only to efforts to put out wildfires and fires but also to efforts to deal with the post-quake situations in 2020 and to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chief fire commander Slavko Tucaković thanked the government for the procurement of 450 new vehicles for the firefighting system.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Firefighter Whose Petrinja Rescue Dog Was Poisoned Given New Puppy

January 26, 2021 – Firefighter Srđan Botica from Slano near Dubrovnik was inconsolable after his hero Petrinja rescue dog Alice was poisoned a few days ago. Although irreplaceable, Srđan's friends could no longer stand by and watch him grieve undeservedly, so they bought a brand new Belgian Shepherd puppy to cheer him up

Srđan Botica was inconsolable after the death of his dog, Alice. Although she was still quite young, Alice and Srđan had built a strong bond between them. The training required for a dog like Alice to become a specialist search and rescue dog will have that kind of effect. The relationship Srđan established with Alice was strengthened both in his workplace, where Srđan is a firefighter and at home, which is where Srđan brought Alice each evening.

The final test of the pair's attachment was to be the rubble left in the aftermath of the Sisak Moslavina earthquake. Srđan volunteered to travel from Dubrovnik to help in the response. Alice became a Petrinja rescue dog, scouring the damaged and fallen buildings for survivors. The inseparable pair stayed for six days undertaking their work.

ScreenshotaliceandSrdan.pngSrdan and Alice at work after the earthquake

As TCN was saddened to report over recent days, the partnership of Srđan Botic and his Petrinja rescue dog Alice was tragically cut short within weeks of their return. Alice was poisoned on the streets of her home in Slano, near Dubrovnik.

Though Petrinja rescue dog Alice was one of a kind and can never be replaced, the friends of firefighter Srđan Botica could no longer sit by and watch his undeserved grief. Over the last couple of days they clubbed together and bought Srđan a new dog. Srđan's new housemate goes by the name of Amy and she's still just a puppy. Amy is a Belgian Shepherd, the exact same breed as Petrinja rescue dog Alice.

It is probably still too early to say whether Amy will follow in Alice's pawsteps to become a search and rescue dog. But, Belgian Shepherds are one of the best-known breeds for this kind of work. They are used as search and rescue dogs by firefighters and mountain rescue in many countries, and as police and military dogs. They have a good reputation as sniffer dogs, particularly in the field of finding illegal drugs. Several Belgian Shepherds have been decorated for bravery and they are very protective of their owners and handlers.

The US Secret Service, Israel Defence Forces, Indian NSG commando unit and Royal Australian Air Force use Belgian Shepherds in their work. The breed is second in number only to the German Shepherd for use across the whole of the US Armed Forces.

Friday, 22 January 2021

German Firefighters Bring Third Convoy of Aid to Quake-Hit Area

ZAGREB, 22 January, 2021 - Forty-three German firefighters from the state of Baden-Württemberg on Friday brought the third convoy of aid to the quake-hit area in Croatia aboard 16 trucks and four vans, including 17 housing containers, firefighting equipment and construction materials.

The donation also included an ambulance.

The convoy was welcomed by a Croatian foreign ministry state secretary, Zdenko Lucić, and county fire marshal Mijo Brlečić.

The first convoy from Baden-Württemberg arrived on 2 January, bringing 110 tonnes of firefighting equipment, medical supplies and food.

The second, 23-truck convoy arrived on 8 January, bringing firefighting equipment, construction material, clothes, hygiene products and food. The donation included five vehicles for firefighters in the quake-hit area.

Fire marshal Brlečić thanked the German firefighters for their donation.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Slovenian and Austrian Firefigthers Bring Aid for Earthquake Victims

ZAGREB, 10 January, 2021 - In a humanitarian campaign organised by the Breznicki Hum Municipality with the help of a Slovenian volunteer firefighters association, PGD Paloma Sladki Vrh,  and Austrian OBR fire brigade, 24 trucks and vans on Saturday delivered aid for people in the quake-hit areas of Sisak, Petrinja and Glina.

The convoy entered Croatia on Saturday morning at the Dubrava Krizovljanska border crossing.

According to the press release, the convoy, accompanied by police, delivered large quantities of construction materials, construction tools, beams, planks and slats, generators and heaters, textiles, pillows, blankets, field beds, food, water and numerous other necessities for the many inhabitants of the quake-hit area.

Upon arrival at the storage terminal of a company called NIL-Z in Petrinja, they were welcomed by Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbovic, who thanked them for collecting and delivering valuable help.

The secretary of the Slovenian firefighters association, Valentina Oslovnik, its commander, Robert Oslovnik, and the commander of Austrian OBR fire brigade, Johannes Matzhold, expressed their satisfaction with participating in the campaign.

The head of Breznicki Hum Municipality, Zoran Hegedic, thanked the participants of the campaign and firefighter from Breznicki Hum, Slovenia and Austria.

Hegedic also thanked the Croatian customs for the excellent cooperation during the arrival of the convoy, Croatian police for accompanying them and all those who helped in any way.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd Sniffs Out Wanted Man in Split

Saturday, 5 September 2020 – More than 100 policemen were searching for the escaped man, but in the end it was a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd that sniffed him out.

When detainee Branimir Čaleta managed to escape from custody on September 2, armed police were immediately on his tail. They knew where to look – he was seen running in the direction of Turska kula and the Park Mladosti in Split, near the Poljud football stadium.

But, though more than 100 officers were searching for the wanted man, in the end, it was a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd called Flip that sniffed him out.

TC Perch.jpg
The Malinois Belgian Shepherd is used by armed services, the police and for search and rescue all over the world © TC Perch

Details of Flip's assistance were revealed in an interview undertaken with the dog's handler, Split firefighter Joško Čule by the 24 sata news outlet. Although he was not allowed to reveal details of the fugitive's capture, Joško did speak about his dog.

Flip is a search dog of the Public Fire Brigade of the City of Split, a firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd. He was trained to search in all environments, from urban areas and ruins to wild nature, and in all weather conditions. He is a family dog, loves spending time with children, and with the firefighters. He is an active member of the firefighting team in Split and works every day. Flip is taken into the field when necessary and has so far participated in four searches for lost people. He found them all.

This firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd is just one of the types of Belgian Shepherd. The other three are called Groenendael, Laekenois, and Tervuren. In Belgium, their country of origin, all four types are considered to be varieties of a single breed, differentiated by hair color and texture. Elsewhere, they are sometimes considered separate breeds.

Flip, the firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd is typical in having tan to brown short hair with patches of black. Belgian Shepherd Dogs are highly intelligent, alert, and sensitive to everything going on around them, and they form very strong relationship bonds. They are loyal, intelligent, fun, make good family pets and are very receptive to being trained, thus explaining the position of this firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd.

mariuszopole.jpg
A Belgian Shepherd with a close relative, a Dutch Shepherd © Marius Zopole 

It is not only firefighters who use these dogs. They are used as search and rescue dogs by other services and as police and military dogs. They have a good reputation as sniffer dogs, particularly in the field of finding illegal drugs. Several Malinois Belgian Shepherds have been decorated for bravery. They are very protective of their owners and handlers.

The US Secret Service, Israel Defense Forces, Indian NSG commando unit and Royal Australian Air Force use Malinois Belgian Shepherds in their work. The breed is second in number only to the German Shepherd for use across the whole of the US Armed Forces.

The fugitive Branimir Čaleta ran away from police while he was at court in Split, where he was appearing charged with the murder of his one-time girlfriend, a Ukrainian national. Čaleta is now back in custody, thanks to Flip, the firefighters Malinois Belgian Shepherd.

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Saturday, 2 March 2019

Dubrovnik-Neretva County Hands Mljet First Firefighting Vessel

Mljet has been given the responsibility of caring for Dubrovnik-Neretva County's very first firefighting boat, which has been procured thanks to EU funds.

As Morski writes on the 2nd of March, 2019, Dubrovnik-Neretva County prefect Nikola Dobroslavić handed over the first firefighting vessel in Dubrovnik-Neretva County in Dubrovnik's port on Friday. The vessel is named Sveti Florijan, named after the patron saint of Linz.

The vessel was handed over by the prefect to the mayor of Mljet, Đivo Marketa, who immediately presented and subsequently handed it over to commander of Mljet's fire brigade, to Mario Dabelić.

Prefect Nikola Dobroslavić stressed that this is an excellent example of good use of the money made available to Croatia from European Union funds.

''The ship is largely financed by EU funds through a project conducted by Dubrovnik-Neretva County. This is the first firefighting boat in our county, and JVP Mljet (Mljet fire brigade) will be responsible for it, but of course it will be available to the whole of this southern area. Another firefighting vessel is coming to the City of Dubrovnik soon and this is a significant addition to the safety and the possibility of interventions being made at sea. This ship will be used for firefighting on boats, as well as in some other emergency situations,'' stated Dobroslavić, among other things.

Sveti Florijan is the first firefighter in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, otherwise Croatia's southernmost county, area acquired by the southern Dalmatian county as part of the scope of the European project AdriaMORE, which is otherwise one of the projects currently being implemented by the Interreg Croatia-Italy cross-border program.

The project activities of Dubrovnik-Neretva County are worth around 350,000 kuna, of which 85 percent are being co-financed with the very welcome funds of the European Regional Development Fund, and the remaining 15 percent are financed by the county's own funds.

A shipbuilding contract, worth about 950,000 kuna, was signed last September with Damor d.o.o., and, as previously mentioned, the new firefighting vessel will be taken care of by Mljet's fire brigade and by Mljet Municipality.

Dubrovnik-Neretva County organised the ceremony as part of the activities on this year's International Civil Protection Day, which was marked on March the 1st.

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Friday, 16 November 2018

Fire Safe Europe: ''Croatia Has Excellent Chance to Improve Standards''

Can Croatia improve its standards by putting in proper preventative fire protection measures in its buildings, alongside the obtaining of energy efficiency certificates? Fire Safe Europe thinks so.

The director of Fire Safe Europe warns that fire protection should be thought of preventively, not just after something has already started burning.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of November, 2018, Juliette Albiac is the ''face'' of Fire Safe Europe, a lobby association of building material manufacturers, firefighters and firefighting experts, with the aim of increasing security standards when it comes to fire protection in buildings. After the utterly catastrophic fire that took place in the Grenfell skyscraper in London, which took 72 lives in 2017 because of the inadequate materials used in construction, the tragic theme has finally come to the forefront.

Since the Republic of Croatia also needs to incorporate fire protection regulation into its national legislation by the end of 2020, Fire Safe Europe points out that it is now an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of its importance in the energy renewal of buildings and the availability of European Union funds.

How much Europe is aware of the issues of fire protection?

The fire at the Grenfell Tower in London has inspired many countries in the rest of Europe to review their security procedures and documents, although some Eastern European countries have, already gone ahead and done that. We thought Britain was one of the leaders in standards of fire protection, so this tragedy came as a surprise to us. We knew there were problematic issues because the European regulations were not aligned, and the current testing models can't predict how facades will behave during a fire, but we'd never have said something like that would happen. It was a wake up call.

Was Grenfell a turning point?

First of all, it should be borne in mind that the regulations relating to fire protection are done at the jurisdiction of each member [state of the EU], just as they are with traffic safety. After Grenfell, several countries revised their regulations, but not all of them. A new law has come into force in France, while talks about properly defining tall buildings or skyscrapers are going on in Belgium, as evacuations in the event of fires are getting worse and longer.

Unlike airborne (aircraft) accidents that are spoken about in the media, about which much can be learned by analysing, this isn't the case with fires that take place in buildings. In Europe, about 4,000 people are killed per year, and about 200,000 people are injured. That's why the European Commission established the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) last year to allow member states to share the best experiences and their data.

What about Croatia?

Unlike Europe, which has had to learn from tragedy, Croatia has luckily learned another way, for example, after we conducted a scientific fire facade study in partnership with the University of Zagreb, the results have influenced a change of regulations to strengthen fire protection. We've compared the three types of façades with different materials that behave differently in a fire. It's been shown that due to the high proportion of flammable materials inside the building, the fire spreads quickly inside and outside of the building, and the speed the fire spread depends on the materials used on the outside of the building. It was a breakthrough where the importance of fire protection was really recognised; we conducted the experiment in 2014, and the regulation in Croatia was changed in 2015.

Otherwise, all eastern countries in Europe take more stringent mandatory measures than trends in Western Europe. Among them, Croatia and Bulgaria have adapted the energy efficiency regulations by prescriptive measures. Take, for example, the definition of tall buildings and skyscrapers; in eastern countries, the borders are lower than they are in Western Europe, and this is extremely important for fire protection. If a fire occurs, the time of evacuation from such buildings is longer. There is no single answer that is the best when it comes to fire protection, for example, it's not enough to just install water sprinklers, but it needs to be a complete approach.

However, everything comes down to money and construction costs. How much more, on average, expensive is it to incorporate a range of inflammable materials into a building?

It's not just a matter of money, the problem lies with insufficient education. Often people, and I'm thinking of building owners and of landlords, don't think about fire protection when building an energy-efficient building. At Fire Safe Europe, we're working to make sure [they know] that using inadequate materials or installing non-certified materials can increase the risk of fire. Talk to your architects and your designers, this isn't just a matter of money. Today's construction is fragmented and the responsibility is also ultimately fragmented. That's the problem. Just take the example of the fires in the middle of the tourist season in Split last year when the fires came down into the city and the citizens and tourists had to evacuate.

Soon, new changes will come into effect. What's that all about?

Croatia, as well as other EU members, will soon be adopting a new long-term energy-building renewal regulation pertaining to the Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD), which was amended this year, which for the first time mentions fire protection in as many as two articles, in which it demands of a member state that when working to reduce energy consumption in buildings, they also take charge of fire safety. The new regulation has to be included in national legislation within two years, for which discussions have already begun in Croatia. It's important to emphasise that European Union funds are available to those who want to make their buildings more energy efficient, and make them safer in the event of a fire.

What's your key message?

Research shows that people often think of fires just after they hear that something is burning somewhere. In other words, fire protection is often not considered as preventive or during energy renewal, and unfortunately that's a fact. Croatia now has a fantastic opportunity to further improve the standards of fire protection within the energy renewal of its buildings. That's why it's important for people to think about fire protection every time they talk about energy efficiency. Imagine, there's no fire protection included at the time of obtaining an energy certificate, so we know how much energy is being consumed but we don't know how the building will behave in the fire. Personally, it's not clear to me how a building can be sustainable and at the same time be able to just burn to the ground.

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Click here for the original article/interview by Ana Blaskovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 27 July 2018

Fire Engines and Equipment from Ozalj in Arabia

A touch of Croatia in a far away land.

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