Following in the footsteps of Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden, Italy and the Turkey, to name but a few, Greek firefighters will soon be patrolling forests on motorcycles to spot fires and if necessary to extinguish them before their service arrives at the location of the blaze. The firefighters will be following the model of the Greek ‘Delta Group’ Police. It is hoped by being first on the scene that the necessary information such as the extent of the fire, its development and density plus whether there are residential areas close by will be relayed to the fire station a lot sooner.
Although there are no plans at the moment for the bikes to be fitted with state-of-the-art water mist equipment or jet hoses like in India and the UK, the firefighters will have better mobility and the chance to control a fire emergency in a much shorter time.
Forest fires occur regularly in Greece as a result of the constant heat waves and strong winds. According to Theodoros Ikonomou of the Forest Owners Association of Greece, it is estimated that the costs of losses now amount to 1 billion euros, not accounting for ‘social’ costs. He further commented, that it is now time to reorganize defences against forest fires in the Mediterranean, with particular attention to prevention and early response mechanisms.