Voluntary Fire Unit of Poros
Who wouldn’t want to live in a society characterized by solidarity and selflessness? But these two concepts are not abstract, nor can they be imposed by any law. They are connected to our morals, conscience and expectations. It’s a way of life. Volunteering is an integral part of such a society. The concept of volunteering is expressed in many ways, from the simple offering of clothes to the staffing of the fire service. Volunteers are fighting for a better life and a better future. Such an example is the Voluntary Fire Unit of Poros.
The Voluntary Fire Unit of Poros started operating in May 2018, after longtime efforts. It is housed in the building of the Open Care Center for the Elderly (ΚΑΠΗ) and belongs administratively to the F.D. of the Prefecture of Argolida. It is staffed by three sub-officers and 21 volunteers. It has three fire engines and is fully equipped, while the Municipality has undertaken the costs of its operation and maintenance.
What is the importance of voluntary firefighting for Poros?
A green island with many visitors has many reasons to be on alert. Imagine a house burning during the night on Poros, and for a fire engine to get to it, to have to pass to the island by ferry. Delay means more damage. However, in areas with a small population, there is no provision for the operation of fire stations.
This puts Poros in an adverse position. A firefighting unit based on the island would not be able to operate without volunteers. Therefore, practically their presence solves a lot of problems. The altruism of these people preserves our right to live safer. We have to acknowledge that.
What does it mean to be a volunteer firefighter?
These are the people next door who, depending on their physical condition and merits, contribute to different sectors. Volunteers get 120 hours of theoretical and practical training. They take exams to be certified and cover three shifts a month. Also, the seminars they participate in are almost the same as the ones for professionals. Very big responsibility! But they protect our natural environment, our property and, in some cases, our lives.
So, let’s see what volunteer firefighter Marianthi Papadiamanti says, “I can’t stay indifferent. Since the first moment we were able to do something, then, with the fire at Lambrakis, where we had nothing, people were in flip-flops. Some people, even tourists, Greeks and foreigners, were struggling to carry water from the sea in balls, hand to hand. By contrast, there were people passing by, taking pictures and even interfering.” She adds, “I have met people who have the same interest as me and this has created more friendly, more substantial bonds. That’s something interesting in life anyway when it occurs.”
Let’s become part of the solution
We could say a lot about the state’s weaknesses in organizing and responding to our needs. However, along with the improvements we may be claiming from the state, we can act in order to fill in the gaps. Katheti, recognizing the decisive contribution of its own volunteers and the key role played by the Volunteer Fire Unit of Poros, reminds us that we can spare some of our free time and become part of the solution!