“I started my term mid-way through a heavy snowfall warning and I have to admit it was a baptism of fire, (…) an exam which I do believe I’ve managed to pass with honours, also thanks to your efforts,” PM Ungureanu told the IGSU staff yesterday.
Approximately 79 pc of the local Emergency Situations Inspectorates (ISU) interventions concerned accidents, while 14 pc were fire-fighting operations, in which 224 people, including 197 adults and 27 children, were killed. The announcement was made yesterday by the head of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU), Marcel Lucaciu, presenting a review of the institution’s activity in 2011. According to the same source, 688 people were killed in fires last year alone. As regards the number of fires reported in 2001, Lucaciu argues the figure nearly doubled compared to 2010, from 18,271 to 31,995, that is, an average 88 fires a day. Out of these, 37 pc broke out in households. “This adds up to an average four villages wiped off the map every year,” Lucaciu stated, quoted by Mediafax. According to the inspector-general, 603,529 calls requesting emergency assistance were made in 2011, that is, a daily average of 1,654 calls. An average 14,270 such calls were made at local ISU level, 23 pc above 2010 figures. The head of IGSU further stated that the number of interventions by the Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication (SMURD) had risen in turn by 27 pc compared to 2010, with a daily average of 493 interventions and an average nine minutes’ waiting time.
“It is an honour to attend this IGSU review meeting. I am doing this as a mark of my respect to you, but also to express my gratitude for your joining in the government’s efforts from the very first days of our term in office,” Ungurean argued, thanking the fire-fighters for their hard work during the time the heavy snowfalls warning was in place. Furthermore, the Cabinet head underlined that he could see the people’s appreciation for SMURD’s activity and voiced his hope the service would soon be operational across the country, for a full integration of emergency operations. “I am proud to be your countryman. You are a model to us and I can only hope you will remain a model,” the prime-minister told the IGSU workers.On the other hand, the prime-minister told the fire-fighters he was well aware of the problems they were facing, owing to the poor technical equipment, but promised he would try to solve these problems as soon as the economic situation allowed it. To this purpose, Ungureanu called on Interior Minister Gabriel Berca to come up with projects to draw European funds, which could be used to update IGSU’s technical equipment. “We need initiatives to access European funds. Funds have been allotted to implementing institutional development projects, funds which can be used to enhance the professional emergency service’s response capacity. I call on you, minister Berca, to come up with as many effective projects as possible to meet this target,” Ungureanu stated. The prime-minister also argued that voluntary emergency intervention services should be set up at local level, to revive a civic spirit which “has waned” in the past years.Interior Minister Gabriel Berca (the Democratic-Liberal Party) spoke, in turn, in highly appreciative terms about IGSU workers. “In 2011, you were the department reporting the best results within the Ministry of Administration and Internal Affairs (MAI). We are aware of the financial and logistic problems you are facing, we are well aware of them and will try to solve them, insofar as the budget allows us,” Berca stated. The minister added that he envisaged a “legislative adjustment” for this year. “We’ve got the National Committee for Emergency Situations, which is doing its job, county committees which are doing their job, we also need local committees,” Berca argued. However, the minister warned IGSU workers that he would show zero tolerance to corruption. We remind our readers that, according to a GfK survey, fire-fighters lead in a ranking measuring the people’s trust in professional categories, with 93 pc, followed by the military and teachers, with a little above 80 pc. At the time, presidential advisor Iulian Fota claimed that this trust ratio made the fire-fighter a fit emblem of MAI.