A ceremony for the award, by presidential decree, of the battle flag to the “Dealul Spirii” Bucharest-Ilfov Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (ISU), in recognition of the sacrifices of the successive generations of firefighters, was held on Saturday at the Memorial of Firefighter Heroes in Bucharest, in the presence of several officials.
ISU Bucharest-Ilfov representatives received the flag from Secretary of State with the Interior Ministry Raed Arafat, who said he considers this to be a unique moment in the history of these military units.
“Although ISU Bucharest-Ilfov has been operating in this form for a relatively short time, since December 2014, you have proven that you are an integrated homogenous structure, and definitely one of the strongest and most important, given the number of interventions you handle annually. The distinction awarded to you under presidential decree is a recognition to everything that means military values – honor, dignity and professionalism, values that must reside in each of you and which are joined together under this sign – the Battle Flag,” said Raed Arafat, head of the Interior Ministry’s Emergency Department.
According to him, beyond its symbolism, the battle flag is for each serviceman a reminder of the glorious past and also a testifies to the reality that firefighters are engaged in a permanent battle to defend time, distance and their own limits in order to save lives.
“It is not by coincidence that this symbol is being awarded just three days before the Day of Romanian Firefighters. The Bucharest firefighters have been on duty for 172 years now, and for 168 years now the Romanian firefighters have been in the service of the population. By doing this noble profession with dedication, you have earned the people’s gratitude and trust. (…) In the past year ISU has gone through one of the amplest equipping programs. Over 31 million euro in EU funding have been spent in 2015 to purchase communications and flood prevention equipment. Another several million euro from the state budget were used to purchase equipment for the daily missions and especially for underground interventions. In 2016, this process of equipment acquisition continues, and contracts worth over 30 million euro have been signed so far,” he added.
Raed Arafat stressed that ISU also underwent a comprehensive reform process that will enable the unit to adjust to the challenges of the future.
“The latest legislative acts passed by the Government place the firefighters in the position they deserve, in the frontline of life and property saving interventions. All this happens against an increasingly difficult background, with ever higher challenges that caused the fireman to grow into more than someone literally fighting fire. Climate change puts us in the face of unprecedented challenges. (…) The fireman is no longer a solitary rescuer, but part of an integrated system, changing into a universal rescuer. I want to express my gratitude for everything you do each and every day,” said Arafat, who also paid tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
ISU Bucharest-Ilfov head, chief inspector Flaviu-Dorel Chiscop, underscored in his turn that the award of the battle flag to this institution is a highly significant moment for the unit’s command and staff, and a historic moment as well, the more so as it happened on the eve of the celebration of the National Day of Firefighters on September 13.