EVAPREM

Fire and Rescue Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania

Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) under the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania employs 230 State fire supervision officers. Apart from its direct responsibilities, the FRD helps municipalities and other institutions improve fire safety in residential building (fire detectors, guidance on installation of heating and electrical equipment, spread of preventive information, etc.). It also provides orientation on maintenance of higher risk objects, as well as civil protection and prevention of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances.

The aim of State fire supervision is to control the conformity in the territory of Lithuania to the requirements of legal acts ensuring fire prevention and to prevent violations of these requirements. The strategic goal of the fire prevention is to decrease the number of human victims and fire fatalities. The state fire supervision has the following objectives:

  • to ensure fire prevention and to control implementation of its requirements;
  • to inform the public about fire safety and to disseminate fire safety knowledge;
  • to encourage citizens, associations and voluntary fire fighters’ activities in the field of fire safety.

FRD promotes the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) to give greater attention to nationwide fire risks that are set in FRD annual work plan. At the regional/local level, the FRS identifies risks in the residential sector in cooperation with the territorial police departments and municipal social welfare office.

In Lithuania, there is no funding foreseen within the State Fire and Rescue Service for the prevention activities, except for the salaries for State fire supervision staff. Salaries of State fire supervision officers comprise 7% of the overall budget of the Fire and Rescue Service.

Figure 1. The number of fire deaths per 100,000 population in Lithuania 

The figure shows that the number of fire deaths in Lithuania is steadily decreasing, although the overall level remains comparatively high.

Lithuania uses three types of fire prevention activities: informing, teaching, and counselling.

Informing. The aim of informing activities is to reach as many people as possible to inform of the dangers associated with fire.

FRD conducts regular activities informing the population on the causes of fire through statistics and other means on TV and radio, accompanied by social and other media messages. The main aim of these activities is to promote safety culture among the widest audience possible. Mass media campaigns’ total budget varies from year to year, but the approximate amount reaches 10 000 EUR. A part of fire safety campaigns is covered by the public relation spending.

In addition to that, FRD conducts meetings with farmers, representatives of communities, churchmen, students, etc. These events are dedicated to discussions of actual problems of fire safety. There is no state support for these events. Booklets and other materials are printed out with the help of NGOs or municipalities. FRD also organizes fire prevention campaigns on the national scale. These campaigns are associated with spring grass fires, school education, fuel stoves and pyrotechnics.

Teaching. Most of the teaching activities are aimed at schoolchildren. FRD organizes two programs – “Be safe, pupils” and “Human safety”. State financial support is not provided for either of the programs.

The aim of the “Be safe, pupils” program is to introduce lower secondary education school children to the rules of safety and to teach them how to behave in case of a fire. Booklets and other materials are printed out with the help of NGOs or municipalities. In 2015, 691 schools were visited and approx. 30 000 pupils (6,4 % of the total schoolchildren population) were reached. In 2016, the numbers were higher -  1 039 schools visited (+51 percent) and 95 000 pupils educated (+217 percent).

Educational program “Human Safety” promotes safety culture. It is implemented in all Lithuanian schools for all pupils. Over the course of the training, a pupil is introduced to all kinds of risk sources/emergencies that exist in a household and surrounding environment. In addition to that, evacuation drills are organized in schools.

Counselling. Lithuania uses two counselling strategies/directions: “Burn safely” and “If I know – then home is safer”. The target groups for the counselling include:

  • families that receive social benefits;
  • families at risk.

The aim of “Burn safely” activity is to protect families that receive social benefits from fires. During a visit (with the support and co-participation of other social partners) owners of the property are reminded about safety rulers, with the most attention being paid to heating appliances. In most cases, the families’ safety is ensured through fixing their heating appliances, providing chimney sweeping and installing smoke detectors. This activity is designed for the whole society, but especially for families that receive social benefits. Equipment, smoke detectors etc. are bought or provided with the help of NGO’s or municipalities.

In the framework of the program “If I know – then home is safer” families at social risk are visited. In the course of the visits, a fire officer draws the attention of property owners to the main fire risks and, with the help of other social partners, decides whether there is a need for further practical support. This programs total budget is approximately 5 000 EUR. In 2015, 8 016 families at risk were visited and 1 553 smoke detectors were installed. In 2016, 15 604 households were visited (+94 percent) and 3 305 smoke detectors were installed (+112 percent).

All activities’ impact is measured by comparing the number of fires and casualties. Various aspects of fire statistics are compared, evaluating individual Fire and Rescue Boards of Districts (FRBD) activity and existing trends. If problems are detected, an individual assessment of the situation is conducted. The patterns regarding social statuses of victims are analysed, showing, among other things, that 65% of fire victims are substance abusers or asocial citizens, who typically ignore any warnings on the dangers.

Table 1. Prevention activities.

Type of activity

Activity

Content

Informing

Public relation/education (TV, radio, newspapers, social media, etc.)

Informing population about fire statistics, causes of fires, basic principles of safety culture.

Meeting with people (farmers, pupils, etc.)

Discussing actual problems of fire safety.

Fire prevention campaigns

Informing the population about the risks of spring grass fire, school education, solid fuel stoves and pyrotechnics.

Teaching

Educational program “Human Safety”

Promoting safety culture among schoolchildren.

“Be safe, pupils”

Introducing lower secondary educational school children to the rules to safety and teaching them how to behave in case of fire.

Evacuation drills in schools

Teaching pupils how to behave during evacuation.

Counselling

“Burn safely”

Promoting safe behavior among families that receive social benefits through visits.

“If I know – then home is safer”

Visiting families at social risk.