On 1 June in Kolasin FORS Montenegro organised a cross-border field exercise during which rescuers from Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina tested and presented their skills and abilities to react in case of fires. Around 40 members of protection and rescue services from both countries took part in the exercise, along with volunteer rescuers, representatives of the Directorate for Emergency Management of the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro and the Ministry of Security of BiH, as well as representatives of the Red Cross, Police Directorate and Institute for Emergency Medical Aid. During the exercise, they presented extinguishing of fires using special fire fighting vehicles, extinguishing from air with water bombs thrown out of the airplanes, descending of fire fighters with backpacks from a helicopter, field search for the disappeared and transporting and treatment of the injured.
Before the exercise, a four-day training for rescuers had been organised, which included both theoretical and practical work and enabled improvement of knowledge on types and ways of fire spreading, equipment and supplies for fire extinguishing, tactical approaches and methods of extinguishing, coordination and other relevant topics. The training was delivered by the trainers from the National Protection and Rescue Directorate of the Republic of Croatia, Dražen Ključarić, Petar Kovačić, Željko Car, Goran Kević and Tomislav Pavlinović. The participants of the training who satisfied the previously determined criteria were awarded certificates.
Apart from the improvement and testing of knowledge and skills of rescuers for reacting in case of fires, the aim of the training and exercise was also improvement of cross-border cooperation, exchange of knowledge and best practices, both between institutions and services dealing with protection and rescue and the rescuers who often face the same challenges and have the same tasks.
The training and the exercise were organised within the project ″Cross-border Fire Protection″, funded by the European Union within Cross-border Cooperation Programme Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro.
The project is being implemented in the following municipalities in Montenegro: Nikšić, Plužine, Šavnik, Žabljak and Pljevlja, by FORS Montenegro and Directorate for Emergency Management of the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro in cooperation with the protection and rescue services from target municipalities. In BiH, is being implemented in Mostar, Jablanica, Konjic, Ravno, Stolac, Čajniče, Gacko, Bileća, Foča and Trebinje by the Minsitry of Security of BiH and Institute for Protection of Fires and Explosions from Sarajevo.
The other project activities include procurement of equipment for protection and rescue from fires whose estimated value is around 96,000 euros, trainings on disaster risk reduction, awareness raising campaign on dangers posed by fires, creation of the cross-border plan for protection from fires, etc. The project started on 18 December and will last for 24 months.