A community volunteer rescuers and firefighters post inaugurated in Pîrlița village, Ungheni district

Posted March 23, 2022

A community volunteer rescuers and firefighters post has been inaugurated on 23 March 2022, in Pîrlița village, Ungheni district. It will provide services to 18 neighboring villages with a total population of over 20,000 inhabitants.

The volunteer rescuers and firefighters post has been built from scratch and equipped with a truck and necessary equipment for interventions due to the financial assistance of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the financial contribution of Estonia, local authorities, and Ungheni District Council provided in the framework of the UNDP ”Climate change and disaster risk reduction” project. The total cost of investment is over €169,855.

Thanks to the inauguration of this post, the volunteer firefighters will be able to reach the remote localities much faster, and the intervention time may be reduced to 15 minutes.

“With financing from Austrian Development Cooperation, community-level climate and disaster management capacities are improved for disaster risk reduction, prevention and timely response. The fire station we are launching today in Pîrlița village, Ungheni district, is one of four constructed and properly equipped with support from Austria, thus at least 65 communities from four target districts with a total population of more than 60,000 citizens will benefit from increased protection from natural and man-made disasters. The conditions created within the new constructed fire stations, the high-performance equipment provided, as well as the training obtained will help firefighters to intervene operatively and efficiently in case of fires or other emergencies,” stated Gunther Zimmer, Counsellor and Head of the Coordination Office for Technical Cooperation, Austrian Embassy Chisinau.

The building has a kitchen, a bathroom, a meeting room, all furnished, as well as a storage room for the truck and related equipment.

”A volunteer firefighter movement is traditional for Estonia. Volunteers have their local organizations; they conduct monthly competitions with their colleagues from the other regions of Estonia. Volunteers have their uniform, flag, orchestra and they are proud to be on guard for the safety of the native village or town. I hope that this tradition will become common in Moldova too. Even now we see a good example of 180 volunteers (women and men) who benefited from professional capacity building training in the area of ​​climate and disaster risk prevention and response. Community replication of the activity and volunteering as a practice raises the common spirit of the society that is very important in our not easy time,” mentioned Olga Goncearova, Head of the Development Cooperation Office of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moldova.

The truck has a 1,600-liter capacity, it is equipped with hydraulic engines, high-performance motor pumps, and can be used in both extinguishing fires and intervening in other emergency situations, even in localities with hard-to-reach roads.

Alexandru Oprea, Head of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (GIES) highlighted: "This community volunteer rescuers and firefighters post will be included in the emergency response scheme, respectively all calls that coming from Pîrlița and neighboring localities will be redirected to the new post. All volunteer firefighters of this post were trained by the employees of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations to respond to the emergency calls."

56 volunteer firefighters selected among the local population will operate within the post. They will be able to promptly intervene in case of fires and emergencies before the arrival of professional firefighters.

“I am proud to be part of the volunteer firefighter’s team who will ensure the security of local citizens in risk situations. Every minute is important in case of fires, and the post inaugurated today will allow us to reduce the response time. The post is extremely valuable for us and for the other eight neighboring localities that contributed to the construction of the firefighters’ post. All these villages will benefit from the services of this post and take care of its good operation in the future,” mentioned Ludmila Nistor, mayor of Pîrlița village.

The volunteer firefighters have been trained by the specialists of the GIES National Training Center based on a vocational training curriculum specific for such intervention groups, which was developed in the framework of the project. Approximately 180 volunteer firefighters, women and men who benefited from vocational training and practical trainings will work within the firefighters´ posts from Pîrlția, Baimaclia, Sărăteni, and Sărata Galbenă villages.

Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova mentioned: “Fires do not always become emergencies, but due to the frequency and permanence of their occurrence in the daily life, the loss they cause is a serious risk to the society, economy, and the environment. Human and material losses caused by exceptional situations and fires remain significant. For this reason, we believe that capacity building, especially at the local level, and building a culture of prevention, preparedness and response to disasters is a pillar of today's resilience to meet tomorrow's challenges.”

During 2019 – 2022, the “Climate and disaster risk reduction” project, implemented by UNDP with the financial assistance of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the financial support of Estonia, has been contributing to enhancing the resilience and adaptation capacity of rural communities to climate change and disasters by improving the water storage infrastructure and rehabilitating and equipping the local rescuers and firefighters posts in Cantemir, Criuleni, Hîncești, Leova, and Ungheni districts. The project has also been strengthening the capacity of decision-makers and raising awareness of the local population from these five districts about climate change and disaster risk reduction, prevention, and response measures.

Contact person: Natalia Costaș, Communication and Media Relations Consultant, UNDP Moldova. Tel.: 0 69 22 11 41; e-mail: natalia.costas@undp.org