National Mechanism for Aerial Search & Rescue | Bill voted in Parliament
Defence Redefined
Published on 07/11/2022 at 12:01

The bill of the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, which provides for the creation of a National Mechanism for Aerial Search & Rescue on land, has been voted by the plenary session of the Parliament. 

The National Mechanism will be named in memory of the young climber Theofanis Ermis Theocharopoulos, who tragically died last January in Tzoumerka.

Ermis Theocharopoulos was alive for four hours in his father’s hands. However, he lost his life as he could not be evacuated on time. The loss of Theofanis Ermis highlighted the great shortcomings in the field of aerial rescue, not only for mountaineers and climbers, but also for every citizen who chooses not to leave his place, even though it is inaccessible and remote, and may at some point be in danger. 

The government has stated that the cost of the Mechanism’s operation and rescue service will be borne by the state and not by the people who will need its assistance. 

Until the tender procedures are advanced and completed, the purchase of aircraft that will support the mission of the Fire Service and the training of personnel will take place by way of lease contracts with private companies for aircraft and specialized personnel.

Also read: Greece | Coordination hub for fires – Ministers meet in Athens

With a legislative improvement in the bill, two of the six Readiness Bases of the Mechanism will be moved. One Readiness and Vigilance Base will be in Ioannina rather than in Aktio and the second will be in Volos rather than in Larissa.

Thus, for the needs of the design and implementation of the National Plan for Aerial Search & Rescue (NPASAR), Readiness/Vigilance Bases are created in Elefsina, Thessaloniki, Volos, Heraklion of Crete, Ioannina, Andravida as special Regional Services of the Fire Service.

In the context of updating the National Plan for Aerial Search & Rescue, it will be possible to modify the number of Readiness and Vigilance Bases.

The Deputy Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Evangelos Tournas, said that the said Bases were chosen based on operational criteria in relation to the extent to which the mountainous areas are visited, the existing population, and the accidents per region, while he also underlined that a Mechanism is set up that will do primary evacuation from the point where the incident takes place.

The rapporteur of New Democracy, Stefanos Gikas, said that the national mechanism is being established to strengthen the work of the Fire Service, which will be supplied with logistical equipment, infrastructure, and personnel, precisely for carrying out operations of this type. Mr. Gikas also underlined that aerial search operations and rescue operations will be carried out for free under the full and exclusive control of the Fire Service.

Also read: Night Landing Exercises of the Search-Rescue Helicopters of the Republic of Cyprus




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