of Interior of Ukraine Аcademician Bogomolets St., 10, Kyiv, 01601, Ukraine
On September 15, 2016, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine presented the concept of reform of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SES). Its main components will be the improvement of the SES units’ fire response system and significant expansion of the network of local fire brigades. For the first time in Ukraine the volunteer firemen will be involved in the fire protection system.
"Today, we announced the launch of the reform of the State Emergency Service! SES is a huge structure: staff of nearly 75 thousand people (74 265 employees, 53 521 of which are certified), the lowest salaries in the MIA system and obsolete equipment, 80% of which has to be discarded! So I want to thank each and all firefighters for their daily feat, because they are fulfilling their extremely hard functions not due to, but in spite of existing conditions of their work", - stressed Arsen Avakov.
SES reform will consist of the three main components, the three fundamental and revolutionary steps.
The first step is the elimination of the state fire inspection.
An entirely new system of the passive fire defense and the prevention of emergency situations will start to work in Ukraine, which will include a mandatory check of the high-risk enterprises and the government offices. The enterprises with the medium and low fire risk will have the choice between regular planned inspections and voluntary insurance.
"The state fire inspection is a body with truly unlimited corruption potential, which discredited the work and deeds of the real rescuers. And it will be eliminated. The purpose of the state is to reduce the number of deaths and losses due to the fires, but not to squeeze bribes from the businesses and promote the welfare of fire inspectors and odious SES managers! That is why we invite the insurance companies to cooperate with us", - said the head of MIA.
Such cooperation will allow to build jointly a model that minimizes pressure on the Ukrainian business and foreign investors. The model, which will eliminate the corruption in the relationship between business and the state inspection and help to automatize the process of the fire checks and implement high European standards.
The second step is the decentralization of the state fire protection system and the creation of complex fire brigades with participation of volunteers.
In the near future the following system changes will be made:
- Creation of the network of the local complex fire brigades including SES employees and volunteers, who will be provided with modern equipment and technologies;
- All firemen, both volunteers and professionals will take an intensive course of training at the SES units bases;
- On the basis of the analysis of the territory features and population density across the country the recommendations for the local communities will be developed. Smart logistics will reduce the fire brigades running time (especially in rural areas) and as a consequence - will increase the efficiency of fire brigades. We plan to reduce the estimated running time for the whole country to 20 minutes, which will save thousands of lives.
"Building on the successful experience of foreign countries, we will launch a new system of organization of the SES work. We will do it step by step, starting with pilot projects where side by side with upgrading the material and technical base we will announce a call for volunteers to join local fire brigades. First of all these pilot projects will be implemented in the Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kiev, Vinnitsa, Ternopol and Lvov regions”, - said Arsen Avakov.
Any citizen between the ages of 18 to 60 years can become a volunteer-firefighter if he/she has no medical contraindications. But a person with medical restrictions can perform administrative duties, be a house man or work in the information and awareness-raising projects. SES will also welcome if people with the combat experience, including ATO participants, veterans of the law enforcement agencies and retired SES employees join the volunteer fire brigades.
The third step is a new system of funding.
"We have prepared and offered to the Cabinet a completely new system of financing of the State Emergency Service, which provided for the updating of its technical equipment, logistics system and staff payroll. Volunteers will not have a salary but receive a number of fringe benefits and social guarantees from the state and local governments. Thus, we are entering a new level of interaction with the local authorities", - said Arsen Avakov.
The leading role in this reform will fulfill the state institutions, with funding from the state budget of Ukraine. The help and support of our foreign partners (the German Embassy in Ukraine, GIZ Agency, IREX, BRDO) is also important to succeed in reforming SES.
"I'm counting on the understanding and support of the government on the one hand and the active participation of the population on the other. Together we can build a system that will save lives, minimize the damages as much as possible and deal efficiently with the consequences of emergencies. We reform the SES - we go together, step by step", - stressed the head of MIA.
Volunteer fire-fighter is a citizen directly involved on a voluntary basis (without an employment contract) in the prevention of fires and (or) fire-fighting within the local fire brigades.
This practice is implemented efficiently worldwide.
- In the US, the volunteers constitute 72% of the total number of fire-fighters;
- In Austria, the local authorities organize, fund and provide equipment for the volunteer fire brigades;
- The German fire-fighters are among the most efficient in the world and they include a corps of volunteers numbering 1.1 million people, with 80% of the volunteers living in the rural areas, and the fire brigades running time is only 8 minutes;
- In Sweden, the volunteers make up 80% of the total number of the fire-fighters and the responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the fire brigades is assigned to the municipalities;
- In Chile, there are no professional firefighters at all, only volunteer teams.
Department of communication of MIA-Ukraine