Project “Fire Fighters. Improving Civil Defence in Ukraine at the Local Level”
Under this project, U-LEAD and its partners help municipalities create volunteer fire brigades.
The project “Fire Fighters. Improving Civil Defence in Ukraine at the Local Level” is implemented by the International Solidarity Fund as part of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme and co-financed by the Polish Cooperation Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. It started in 2021 and will last until the end of 2023. This project builds on previous initiatives on civil defence implemented as part of U-LEAD’s efforts since 2018.
Its primary objective is to support municipalities in improving their civil defence policies, with a focus on the creation and development of volunteer fire brigades (hereinafter VFB).
The project currently works with 16 municipalities from 9 oblasts of Ukraine. In 2022, the project was active in the following directions:
Strengthening the potential and capacity of VFBs. 192 volunteers were trained under the programme of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, and webinars were also held on volunteer management in municipalities, building an effective VFB, the social impact of VFBs on municipalities and attracting funding for the operation of a VFB. In 2022, VFBs were officially launched in the municipalities of Neresnytsia in the Zakarpattia oblast and Horodenka in the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast (see photo).
To date, 100% of municipalities have developed action plans for their VFBs for 2023, as well as road maps for the development of local civil defence regulations and the operation of VFBs approved by the heads of the municipalities. A separate project, which has been implemented by the International Solidarity Fund in cooperation with Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) and financed by the EU, secured the provision of firefighting equipment for a total amount of about UAH 26,900,000 to 70 Ukrainian municipalities, including 16 municipalities participating in the Fire Fighters project.
Improving the legal framework for the operation of VFBs Thanks to the support of the project team and cooperation with the State Emergency Service, on 11 May 2022, changes were made to the budget classification of expenditures related to the operation of VFBs, and on 18 October 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted Draft Law No. 7557 based on recommendations developed by the project experts.
Promotion of creating VFBs in Ukraine. www.vognebortsi.in.ua was created as a platform that will be updated as a “knowledge base” for those interested in creating and supporting VFBs in Ukraine. A webinar was organised for the municipalities participating in the Fire Fighters project to share best practices with already existing VFBs. Project experts prepared an overview of the expected outcomes of the implementation of Law of Ukraine No. 7557 on the operation of VFBs.
Main tasks for 2023:
- Assistance in the creation of fully functional VFBs in municipalities;
- First aid training for VFB members;
- Support for partners in developing civil defence plans;
- Advocacy for changes in legislation and procedures regarding the operation of VFBs and the field of civil defence in municipalities in partnership with the State Emergency Service;
- Promotion of the creation of VFBs in Ukrainian municipalities as an effective tool for improving civil defence at the local level and effective use of municipalities’ capacity.
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