EVAPREM

State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia

State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia (SFRS) is informing population on topics of fire safety, personal safety and correct actions during emergency situations. The goal of prevention activities is to promote society’s interest and better understanding of fire safety and civil protection. The target groups of prevention activities differentiate highly. Most of the Service is involved in prevention activities of some kind: e.g. the firefighters and dispatchers also receive questions. There is a Prevention and Public Relations division, who coordinate prevention activities and the Board of Fire Safety and Supervision, who organize fire inspections and collect quantitative data on prevention.

New fire safety regulations will be confirmed in Latvia in 2016 introducing a specific focus on two target areas:  residential sector and enterprises.

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

The number of fire deaths are decreasing in Latvia (see Figure 1). Overall performance of the SFRS and country-wide situation are evaluated by the Fire Safety and Supervision Departments of State Fire and Rescue Service based on statistical data on the number of deaths by fire.

State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia uses three types of fire prevention activities: informing, teaching, and counselling.

Informing. Informing activities in Latvia mainly target the whole population and take place all over the country.

The State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia organizes Open doors days. The Open doors day takes place every year on the 17th of May (celebration of the Firefighters day). The number of participants of the event grew from 3 000 in 2012 to more than 12 000 in 2016.

Raising awareness through mass media and TV and radio appearances are part of regular daily prevention activities. This includes posting informational messages in Twitter and Facebook, aimed at promoting safe behavior among citizens. Maintenance of the SFRS home page is one of the activities that also spreads information on safety and prevention. As regards more conventional engagement with the media, SFRS organizes conferences every year (e.g. 3 press conferences in 2016 and 10 in 2014) and sends out press releases (380 in 2016, 393 in 2014). Several awareness campaigns – “Don’t burn your land” and “On safe use of heating devices” – were organized and maintained in years 2013-2016.

Awareness raising events are also often held for employees at workplaces, with the total number of events held reaching 1452 and the population of almost 13 000 covered. Visits to FRS brigades take place at a different frequency. The total number of such visits held in 2016 was 765, with the number of visitors reaching 22 107.

In addition to that, SFRS takes part in several safety festivals (“Adventurous summer”, “Be safe”, attracting more than a thousand visitors in total), which are organized throughout the year. Some of the festivals are held on a regional level, while others are a nation-wide activity. Majority festivals are focused on schoolchildren. In festival “Be safe” there organize different competitions about fire and water safety.

Teaching. Teaching activities are focused mainly on schoolchildren. All of the teaching activities are held throughout the country.

The Fire and Rescue Service officials are visiting educational facilities all over Latvia, promoting and educating students about the unified emergency number 112 in the course of the 112 Day. In 2016, more than 10 000 schoolchildren were educated on the topic, and an even bigger number is expected in 2017 (12 000 schoolchildren, approx. 5-6% of the total number of pupils in Latvia). This event has been held every year since 2012.

Other teaching and training activities are organized at educational facilities to educate school children on fire safety and correct actions during emergencies. Each year more than a thousand events are held, with a total number all participants reaching 48 150 (2016). The practical component of training involves fire simulation exercise and drill evacuation. 221 practical exercises have been held in 2016 (number of participants - 31 428). Quizzes are another type of teaching events aimed at testing and improving the knowledge on fire safety (with 43 quizzes held, and a total number of participants reaching 8054).

Counselling. Counselling for target group representatives and partners focuses on provision of advice on fire, water and bomb safety issues. During the counselling, target group representatives are offered with possible solutions to the problems identified and a coordinated effort from both sides is proposed. The target groups include:

  • residential holders (top priority in 2017);
  • educational institution heads (priority in 2006–2012);
  • representatives of local governments;
  • representatives of the various cooperation partners.

The State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia also conducts regular inspections of residential buildings, visiting owners and users of buildings and instructing them on fire safety and other questions. It is a nationwide activity. In total, there have been 1205 buildings inspected and 4881 persons instructed in 2016.

Prevention activities are measured through number of events held and persons reached.

Table 1. Prevention activities.

Type of activity

Activity

Content

Informing

Open doors day

Celebration of firefighters’ day on 17th of May.

Media engagement

Information given to the media on topics of fire safety and other questions.

Messages through TV and radio

Information given on TV or radio on topics of fire safety and other questions.

Press conferences and press releases

Informing the public concerning safety questions, both talking about fire safety and civil protection.

Informative events at other facilities

Informing about fire safety topics.

FRS brigade attendance

Instructing about the work of FRS brigade, showing equipment and educating on fire safety.

Participating in bigger safety festivals

Informing about fire safety topics.

Teaching

Practical lessons

Testing evacuation activities during possible fires.

Quizzes

Informational events which aim at testing of the knowledge on fire safety

Lectures in educational institutions

SFRS visits schools and educates on how and when to use the emergency number, what info to give, etc.

Lectures in other institutions

Educating on fire safety in other institutions

Informational activities organized at educational facilities

Informational events schoolchildren on fire safety and correct actions during emergencies.

Counselling

Counselling of residential holders

SFRS personnel visits people at their homes and instructs on fire safety and other questions

Counselling of educational institutions heads

SFRS counselling on fire safety and other questions

Counselling of local governments

SFRS counselling on fire safety and other questions

Counselling of cooperation partners

SFRS counselling on fire safety and other questions