The Board of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will again support Greece’s Fire Service with a donation of 25mn euros, “aiming at supporting the difficult work of the men and women of the Fire Service, who are on the front line of protecting the country’s residents and its natural resources».

The related announcement stated that the donation will be used primarily for the maintenance and upkeep of the firefighting arsenal and for the prospective purchase of equipment for the fire service, as well as for training, with the aim of contributing to prevention and rapid response to emergencies.

The Foundation’s announcement stated that:

“The grant will cover the maintenance and the potential procurement of equipment for the Hellenic Fire Department, as well as training programs, aiming to contribute towards the prevention of and immediate response to emergency situations.

This new grant, which is unfortunately, announced in the wake of the recent tragic events, is not without context or precedent. Since the beginning of its grant making activity in 1996, the SNF has supported the Hellenic Fire Department through a series of grants totaling more than €19 million. Among these, during the last 20 years, the SNF has provided a Super Puma helicopter, which was heavily used in combating the recent catastrophic fires, 15 vehicles to cover the Department’s needs and has funded the construction and operation of a training center for the Fire Department"s Disaster Relief Team.

The SNF has also supported the work of volunteer firefighters in the islands of Cephalonia and Samos.

Furthermore, the SNF has previously supported firefighter education by funding a multi-year training program in forest fire prevention in collaboration with the British Columbia Fire Service in Canada. Upon their return, program participants were able to train their colleagues in Greece.

This national tragedy, which has cost the lives of so many and destroyed the households of thousands, requires that all of us, as a society, find ways to provide a collective remedial response. Even more importantly, it requires a collective effort to prevent the future recurrence of these tragic events that have marked the lives of many of our fellow citizens.”

The day after the catastrophic fires, main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis contacted the president of the Niarchos Foundation, Andreas Dracopoulos (photo above), to propose that the Foundation undertake the repair and maintenance of fire planes of the Fire Service for a five-year period.

Dracopoulos agreed in principle with the idea of supporting the important work of the Fire Service, which it has diachronically supported, and proposed that Mitsotakis discuss the idea with the PM, and if they agree that the project is a priority for the Greek state, then the Foundation will gladly help.

Meanwhile, State Minister Alekos Flambouraris contacted Dracopoulos, to propose that the Foundation participate in the state’s effort to fund the reconstruction of fire-stricken areas.

On 27 July, Dracopoulos met with the minister and the prime minister at the PM’s office. They held exhaustive discussions about the needs of the state in firefighting, both on an economic and technical level, as well as about prevention and the restoration of fire-ravaged areas.

It was jointly decided that the Foundation will cooperate with the Fire Service and the Citizens’ Protection Ministry to examine the specific ways in which the Foundation can contribute effectively to their work.