GREECE – The General Secretariat for Civil Protection is preparing two new guidelines laying out the responsibilities of each government department and agency in handling flooding and forest fires, a department director said in a presentation on Monday at the Fire Brigade’s Unified Coordination Center in Halandri.
The plans, named “Dardanos” and “Iolas” respectively, will end “decades-long irregularities and excuses” and “move from the improvisation phase to the phase of scientific data in dealing with crises,” Secretary General Nikos Hardalias said.
The draft plan for civil protection will be released shortly for public consultation, he said, while the remaining guidelines for natural disasters like snowstorms, earthquakes and volcano eruptions will be ready by end February.
In addition, the operational guidelines for the firefighting period of 2020 is already completed.
“In Greece, the problem never was about who does what,” the secretary general said. “It was always who is supervising what everyone does, and whether it’s done in time so that every cog helps the wheel turn. We saw several such cogs get stuck in Mati,” he added, referring to the 2018 devastating fires in eastern Attica.
He also said that the Europe-wide emergency number 112 will be fully operational by January 1, 2020, but warned it is not a panacea and will only be used for official warnings sparingly, to prevent throwing people into panic.