Autori: Đuro Deželić, Đuro Gajdek
Croatian firefighting association
Selska cesta 90a, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
tel: 01/3689-160, fax: 01/3025-026
THE FIREFIGHTING SERVICE IN CROATIA
The Law of Fire-prevention, the Law of Fire-fighting and the Law of protection and safety as well as their sub-regulations and corresponding acts and orders of districts, cities and municipalities regulate all matters of fire-prevention and fire-fighting in Croatia. According to the Croatian constitution, fire-fighting is matter of local municipalities. Professional and volunteer fire-fighters are equal regarding the fulfilling their duties, but the professional fire-fighting units work on bases of the Law of Public Institutions, and the volunteer fire-fighting units on bases of the Law of Associations of Citizens. Additional 4 fire-fighting intervention-units work in 4 coastal counties in Dalmatia, and all fire-fighting units are commanded during the summer by the Center in Divulje near Split, all part of the National Directorate for protection and safety. Specific for Croatia is also the engagement of 1.000 season fire-fighters and additional fire-fighting units on islands to protect them from wildland fires in summer. Each fire-fighting unit and fire-fighting association has a commander, who is responsible for interventions, preparedness and education of fire-fighters on his territory. Each volunteer fire-fighting unit and fire-fighting association has a president, who is representing it and who is responsible for its development and its promotion. On state level within the National Directorate for protection and safety the main fire-fighting commander is responsible for interventions, preparedness and education of fire-fighters in Croatia, and one of his helpers is the Head of the Croatian Firefighting Association. The main fire-fighting commander takes over the command while commanding directly the intervention-units, if the intervention is covering 2 or more counties, or if aircrafts are involved.
Fire-fighting interventions are carried out by:
• 1835 volunteer fire fighting units in municipalities and cities
• 56 volunteer industrial fire fighting units
• 61 public city fire fighting units (professional)
• 34 professional industrial fire fighting units
• 4 intervention units of the Ministry of internal affairs
• Special fire-fighting forces and forces of the anti-fire escadrille of the Ministery of Defense (6 Canaders CL 415, 6 Air-tractors 802 A Fire Boss and helicopters of the type Mi-8 and 117-Š of the Croatian army).
Within the National Directorate for protection and safety works the Education Center for Protection and Safety and the Fire-fighting School, where fire-fighters and rescue-personell are educated. Also equipment is being checked and normed there, and croatian normes regarding protection and safety are being suggested.
Of the 61.421 croatian operative fire-fighters, 56.415 of them are volunteer fire-fighters of towns and municipalities, 1.621 are volunteer fire-fighters in industrial fire-fighting units, 2.371 are professional fire-fighters in public fire fighting units, 236 are professional fire-fighters in volunteer fire-fighting units and 778 are professional industrial fire fighters.
Fire-fighters in Croatia record between 35 and 40 thousand interventions in a year, in average consisting of 13 thousand interventions on fires, 12 thousand technical interventions and 14 thousand other interventions.
All fire fighting-units are united in fire-fighting associations of municipalities, towns, districts and counties, and 20 fire-fighting associations of counties and the Fire-fighting Association of Zagreb are unfied into the Croatian Firefighting Association.
The volunteer fire-fighting units and the fire-fighting associations are financed by local municipalities (up to 5 % of their source-incomes), and the Croatian Firefighting Association is financed by the state budget. The territorial professional fire-brigades are financed additionally through the state-budget based on minimal financial standards. Important incomes of fire-fighting associations are 5% of fire-ensurances of buildings. Additional incomes for fire-fighters are special governmental programmes (for example from 2002-2009 210 fire-fighting vehicles were financed mainly by the government), percentages of forest-taxes and additional financing from local municipalities for fire-fighting equipment.
THE CROATIAN FIREFIGHTING ASSOCIATION - TODAY
The Croatian Firefighting Association is the top fire-fighting-organisation that integrates all fire- fighting organisations and units in Croatia. 1896 professional and volunteer fire-fighting units with 61.421 operative fire-fighters are unified in 252 fire-fighting associations of municipalities, towns, districts and counties. Additional the volunteer fire-fighting units have about 75.000 supporting members, from which 20.815 are cadet fire-fighters, with approximately 30 % female members. Volunteer fire-fighting units have in their ownership 1.119 fire fighting centres, 952 fire-fighting warehouses, 3.108 fire-fighting vehicles and round 2.200 portable motor-pumps.
The tasks of the Croatian Firefighting Association are: organising and carrying out of fire-protection measures; fire extinguishing and rescue of people and their belongings threatened by fire, explosion, technical accidents, natural and technical-technological accidents; helping in disaster relief during accidents and catastrophes, terrorist attacks and war; development and improvement of firefighting-skills, according to technical-technological achievements; environmental protection; achievement of a higher level of protection of people and their belongings against fire and against natural disasters and civilisation catastrophes; protection and promotion of interests of its members; realisation of the primary role of the fire-fighting service in the entire protection and rescue system; care of rejuvenation of fire-fighting units and promotion of the dignity of the fire-fighting branch.
The National Committee for Prevention and Extinction of Fire, seated within the office of the Croatian Firefighting Association, is an advisory body of the Croatian Parliament, coordinates national fire-prevention and fire- fighting activities and is member of the International Committee for Prevention and Extinction of Fire (ctif). Bodies of the Croatian Firefighting Association are the Presidency and the Operative-technical headquarter. The Croatian Firefighting Association has a Council for cadet fire-fighters, and 10 committees, e.g. committees for fire-fighting equipment and technique, standardisation, education and training, competitions, research of the croatian fire-fighting history, and the association of fire-fighting units in hospitals and the association of professional fire-fighting units in the industry.
Special attention is given to education and training of fire-fighters. The Croatian Firefighting Association (co)financies all specialized trainings and educations of fire-fighting officers, as well as regional exercises. For this purpose the Croatian Parliament gave the Croatian Firefighting Association an ex Army-center in Slatina near Donja Stubica, and at this moment is in process the constitution of a fire-fighting school of the Croatian Firefighting Association.
To ensure the rejuvenation of the fire-fighting units, the Croatian Firefighting Association organises many activities for cadet-fire-fighters, among others a cadet fire-fighting-camp in Fažana near Pula, with participation of nearly 1.500 cadet-fire-fighters in a year.
An important activity regarding training and cohesion of the fire-brigades are competitions. The Croatian Firefighting Association organises annualy on 10 locations competitions for the Croatian Fire-fighting Cup, as well as elimination competitions for international competitions of the CTIF.
The Croatian Firefighting Association organises annualy at least 2 seminars, and takes part on national (Interprotex) and internationan (Interschutz) exhibitions, with the aim of exchange and levelling knowledge.
The Croatian Firefighting Association pubishes annualy in average 5 handbooks for fire-fighters, and fire-fighting news are followed by the monthly fire-fighting magazine „Vatrogasni Vjesnik“, published also by the Croatian Firefighting Association.