MOSCOW, January 3 (Itar-Tass) — Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said the fire-related losses during the New Year holidays this year have been minimal. "As for the first days of the New Year, we have the situation under control. Thanks to the measures taken and large preventive work, we have minimal losses," Puchkov underlined at a telephone conference on Thursday.
He noted that no accidents had been reported during New Year children's parties. "Also, there were no problems in public places; I ask the specialists responsible for it to continue their work," Puchkov said.
The minister wished the Emergency Ministry personnel success and luck in the new year.
Earlier, Puchkov said in an interview to Itar-Tass that all the plans and programs for 2012 had been fulfilled. "We've cut the response time which now averages less than ten minutes. Any specialist is aware that the sooner the assistance comes, the better chance there is to save a person's life and health."
More than two million people requested the help of Emergency Situations Ministry /EMERCOM/ last year. "Thanks to improving the effectiveness of the response system, and the quality of personnel training and gear, we achieved a significant increase in the number of those who received our real assistance. EMERCOM units rescued 214,000 people in 2012, up 18 percent from 2011," he said.
On the whole, the outgoing year has positive indicators. "We succeeded in keeping the trend towards a decrease in the rate of emergency situations and fires, and death toll from fires decreased by almost 1,000 people. We managed to protect the population from emergency situations caused by forces of nature," according to the minister.
In 2012, EMERCOM experts retrieved and rendered harmless more than 40,000 explosion hazardous objects of World War II and Civil War.
The year 2012 was noted for many international humanitarian operations, in which EMERCOM rendered assistance to several dozen countries all over the world.
The main results of the Ministry's work is an increase in the number of the rescued, a decrease in the losses and improvement of the effectiveness of the response system," Puchkov said.