2017 is the first year of NFA’s “medium-term project to enrich manpower and equipment supplies for volunteer firefighter organizations.” Carried out in 3 batches spanning 5 years and on a total budget of NT$550 million, the project aims to recruit new blood for the volunteer firefights, improve their training as volunteer firefighters and purchase much needed equipment and supplies as an effort to improve the nationwide ability of volunteer firefighters in their rescue duties.
To encourage the interactions between all parties involved in this medium-term project, a demonstrational event was held in Taichung City at 9:00 am, May 24 at the Fengyuan Training Center of Fire Bureau of Taichung City Government. 150 responsible persons from local governments and firefighters from NFA’s 4 harbor fire squadrons attended this grant event, a testament of how much local governments show their emphasis and support for the improvement of firefighter organization recruitment and their equipment.
The event started with the brief presentation of Fire Bureau of Taichung City Government which shared their experience with everyone attending the event in terms of new blood recruitment, efforts of putting the project together and their previous success during a discussion session. At the end Mr. Lin Chia-lung, the Mayor of Taichung City and Mr. Chen Wen-lung, Director General of NFA presented the flags to the 12 new function-oriented volunteer firefighter squadrons and 13 promotion-oriented squadrons for their establishment. As part of demonstration, there were firefighting promotion dance, examination of training results, flight demonstration of aerial drones, car accident rescue drill and water rescue drill. The exercises and drills were really life-like, showing how hard these rescue workers and volunteer firefighters had worked during their training sessions.
Mayor Lin showed his gratitude to the Executive Yuan for its funding and NFA for the arrangement of this successful event as these efforts facilitated the funding and supports much needed for volunteer firefighter training and equipment enrichment in addition to the 12 new function-oriented squadrons. Traditionally, volunteer firefighters were trained specifically for their firefighting skills. The new function-oriented squadrons are specialized in rescue in various domains, such as on land, on water, in the mountains and in the air. Particularly, the new aerial surveillance squadron is the first in the country to deploy drones over fire scenes to watch over disaster scenes and provide vital information for the accident scene commanders. With powerful thermal imaging capability, these drones can even be used to search for signs of life, making them a powerful weapon in rescue missions.
Director General Chen hoped that this demonstrational event not only served as a platform for interactions and experience sharing between local governments, but also as a starting point that local governments continue their efforts in encouraging new blood, recruiting from multiple sources, providing professional and advanced training, improving the capability of volunteer firefighters in their line of duty, purchasing and replacing equipment, and ultimately keeping these firefighters safe as they perform their duties. He encouraged all enthusiastic citizens who are above 20 to join the rank of volunteer firefighters to protect the safety of our home. Those who are interested are encouraged to call the fire bureau of their local government. Volunteer firefighters are recruited for: accident rescue, emergency rescue, promotion, mountain search and rescue, water search and rescue, building construction and information/communication technology.