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MOSCOW, May 1 /ITAR-TASS/. The number of voluntary firemen in Russia is about to reach one million people who help protect 40 thousand settlements from fires, spokesman of the country’s Ministry of Emergency Situations Alexander Drobyshevsky told Itar-Tass.
The Russian president has signed the law on voluntary fire-fighting service on May 6, 2011. A quicker enactment of this law was caused by sweeping forest fires in July-August 2010 when tens of settlements were stricken in the blazes in central Russia and the Volga River region. Then the Ministry of Emergencies leadership stated that at least 800 thousand voluntary firemen were needed in Russia to protect rural settlements from fires.
“More than 37 thousand public fire security units with a total strength of more than 914.1 thousand people have been formed in all Russian regions so far,” Drobyshevsky said, noting that “Voluntary fire-fighting units protect more than 37.8 thousand settlements where 13.3 million people live.” More than 32 thousand settlements in Russia were not protected by fire-fighting teams due to their remote geographical position three years ago at the moment the voluntary fire-fighting service law was enacted.
“From the start of this year voluntary fire-fighting units have put out 749 fires on their own, volunteers participated in fighting around six thousand fires as additional fire-fighting force, saving 228 people,” Drobyshevsky said.
Voluntary firemen are provided with fire-fighting machinery and equipment. Voluntary fire-fighting teams use around 24 thousand units of fire machinery.
Voluntary firemen participate not only fire-fighting, but also in rescue operations. “From the start of this year voluntary firemen participated in rescue operations for more than 2.6 thousand times, saving more than one hundred people,” the ministry’s spokesman said.