NICOSIA - The emergency services are fully prepared to deal with fires this summer, according to Minister of Interior Socrates Hasikos.
Speaking after a ministry meeting on Wednesday, Hasikos confirmed that a training exercise involving all services that deal with fire prevention will take place on May 29 in preparation for the high-risk summer season.
“We hope there will be fewer fires this year but at the same time we wish to assure the public that the authorities are more than prepared to respond.”
The minister added that the fire services, police, Civil Defence and Forestry Department are all on alert and ready to deal with urban and rural fires.
Asked if the government has any new fire fighting tools, the minister said the National Guard has offered up a second helicopter to aid in fire fighting operations.
“In addition the police have two helicopters and the forestry department has two planes that can be used in the event of emergencies.”
Hasikos confirmed that the Interior Ministry has also made a deal for the lease of two Russian manufactured helicopters from a private company for €1.6 million for the summer season, noting that the previous lease for the same aircraft was €2.4m.
“The British Bases have always aided us in fire fighting operations and they have assured us that we can rely on them again in the event of an emergency.”
Dry, hot weather make the risk of fires during the summer a very real threat.