On Sunday afternoon, a team of four firefighters from Lancashire will be deployed to Greece to help the country as wildfires continue to devastate parts of the country.
The team has been put together by the National Fire Chiefs Council who have responded to a request from the Home Office to give operational assistance to Greece. The four firefighters will join a team of 21 firefighters from Merseyside, South Wales, London, and West Midlands fire services. The team will fly to Athens on Sunday, and they will be deployed alongside their Greek counterparts in tactical firefighting.
All the firefighters will be entirely self-sufficient; ensuring that no additional burden is placed upon a country already suffering demands on its resources when faced with the aftermath of sudden onset disasters.
Chief Fire Officer and Vice-Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, Justin Johnston says:
“When the request came through from the Home Office and the National Fire Chiefs Council, I was happy to offer the support of Lancashire’s firefighters. The scenes that we have seen of the wildfires burning in Greece have been shocking and I know that the team from the UK fire and rescue services will have the specialist skills to help our fire family in Greece.
“The request came through on the same day that we learnt about the tragic death of a firefighter in Greece whilst thousands of people are being evacuated from their homes. Our thoughts are with all those people whose lives have been affected by these devastating fires and we wish the 21 firefighters from the UK all the best.”
The wildfires are largely due to the country’s most severe heatwave in 30 years, with temperatures soaring to more than 40 degrees centigrade in some areas. More fires are likely, with forecasts of strong winds and searing temperatures.
The four firefighters from Lancashire are volunteers who are members of the International Search and Rescue Teams and they have previously deployed to Haiti and Japan in recent years.