ZAGREB, Feb 25 (Hina) – The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) said on Monday it would celebrate its 70th anniversary in April, and Assistant Minister for Civil Protection Damir Trut announced the completion of the project which would provide civil protection services with five helicopters for medical and rescue operations.
“The Ministry of the Interior and the Civil Protection Directorate have designed a project to provide the civil protection system with five helicopters. I expect financing documents to be signed by the end of the year so that we can begin the procurement process for three medium-sized and two large helicopters, which would be used for emergency medical transport and mountain rescue operations,” Trut told reporters.
HGSS chief Josip Granic recalled that the HGSS was founded in 1950 by four founders and several members. “Today we have 1,018 registered members, and the increase in the membership means an increase in the number of activities,” he added.
“Since the foundation of the HGSS we have saved several thousand people. The HGSS has between 800 and 1,000 response operations annually. In some we saved a large number of people and in others animals or equipment,” Granic underscored.
He said that during the 70 years of service they have gained enough experience and knowledge to be able to continue their work with confidence, especially since there will always be a need for rescuing people.
“Because of the increasing number of people spending their time in nature, accidents will, unfortunately, happen more and more often,” Granic said.
He noted that rescue equipment was expensive but that the support by the local community and the government continues to grow every year.
“Rescue equipment used in all circumstances costs around €10,000 (€1,350). Not everyone has all the equipment, which may not even be necessary, but we need to make sure that everyone can respond at all times,” Granic said.
The HGSS is financed with about HRK 30 million (€4m) annually, of which HRK 17 million (€2.3m) is provided by ministries and through various grants.
“It is important that we receive almost exactly the same amount of funding from EU funds. We apply for projects all the time and we’ll have to do so even more,” Granic underscored.
HGSS secretary-general Darko Berljak announced that there would be a major demonstration exercise for the public at Zagreb’s Lake Jarun on 10 May. “We also want to act preventively so we are going to organise a series of exercises and workshops throughout the year in all our 25 stations in Croatia,” he said.