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In view of the upcoming fire season and in order to ensure the preparedness of volunteer firefighters who are on the front line of forest fires, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the Athina I. Martinou Foundation made a significant donation to the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection to cover the supply of personal equipment required to meet the increased clothing needs of the Fire Service’s volunteers.
In particular, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation donated to the Fire Service 2,500 dress uniforms, 2,500 wildland fire helmets and 2,500 wildland fire boots (the cost of which amounts to ~€980,000), while the Athina I. Martinou Foundation donated 500 dress uniforms, 500 wildland fire helmets and 500 wildland fire boots (the cost of which amounts to ~€220.900) respectively; 3,000 volunteer firefighters will benefit from this donation.
The personal protective equipment delivered to the Fire Service has been manufactured in accordance with special high-standard technical specifications and is expected to significantly upgrade the operational capacity of volunteer firefighters, enhancing their safety within the forest environment. It should be noted that this donation, which takes place under the auspices of "Bicentennial Initiative 1821-2021", covers 22 Volunteer Fire Stations and Volunteer Fire Forces, along with a large number of Volunteers serving with Fire Departments across Greece. The institution of ‘Volunteer Firefighter’ was established in 1990 as an honorary and unpaid position, operating within the Fire Service; its mission consists in protecting the life and property of citizens and the State, the natural environment and our country’s forest wealth.
The Chief of the Fire Service, Lieutenant General George Pournaras, delivered the donated personal equipment to the representatives of the Fire Service volunteers, stating that:
“The support given by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the Athina I. Martinou Foundation is an act of recognition of the work of the Fire Service, and the donation of personal equipment for the protection of our volunteers greatly assists us in our work. Especially in recent years, volunteering has emerged as a key pillar in dealing with disasters. Ensuring a high degree of readiness for our volunteers strengthens the Fire Service, the main operational arm of Civil Protection in our country.”
For his part, the President of the Executive Board of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, Dr. Petros Kalantzis, emphasised that:
“Climate Change remains one of the major current challenges, having an irreversible impact on many aspects of our lives, such as the environment and health, making it clear that joining forces is the only way to deal with it. This donation is one such example and is linked to our Foundation’s long tradition of supporting the Fire Service with the aim, among other things, of upgrading the mechanisms for preventing and dealing with natural disasters, meeting basic and long-term equipment needs, but also strengthening the readiness and effectiveness of the National Civil Protection System in general.
Since its establishment, our Foundation has based its action on a deeply collaborative mindset, being at all times open to joining forces with public and private bodies in order to contribute to more effective crisis management. In this context, acting with a sense of duty, we responded to the call of the Greek State and cooperated with the Athina I. Martinou Foundation to upgrade the personal protective equipment of volunteer firefighters, in view of their role as a critical link in the national forest fire protection system. The aim of this collective initiative is for the relevant actions to become a key contribution to the readiness for, prevention and early suppression of wildfires.
On behalf of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the leadership of the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, the leadership of the Fire Service, but also individually to its officers and the career and volunteer firefighters who are steadfastly and selflessly in the field, defying all danger. We hope that this equipment will be a key contribution for volunteer firefighters to keep offering their valuable services in a smooth and safe manner.”
On behalf of the Athina I. Martinou Foundation, the President of its Executive Committee, Ms Ioanna Martinou, stated that:
“For Greece, 2022 has been one of the warmest years in the last three decades, showing clear signs of the effect of climate change on wildfires. In order to preserve the natural environment for generations to come, partnerships are needed with all parties involved, to develop action plans that work both in terms of response and at prevention level. Against this background, the donation to the Fire Service aims to cover the needs of volunteer firefighters, ensure their preparedness and strengthen their safety, thus facilitating their difficult work.
At the core of the Athina I. Martinou Foundation’s aim is the practical support and development of organisations, with the purpose of multiplying the benefits of the grants it awards. Accordingly, it prioritises the forging of development synergies. The invaluable partnership with the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation in this donation is a great example, in practice, of how partnerships amplify an action’s social and environmental footprint.
On behalf of the Athina I. Martinou Foundation, I would also like to extend my warmest thanks to the leadership of the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, the leadership of the Fire Service, as well as the volunteer firefighters for their invaluable and selfless work.”