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    Polish GFFFV Firefighters in Greece: a summary of the events

    Devastating wildfires swept through Greece. The European Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) sought assistance, and Poland decided to help without hesitation. Check the chronological events of their rescue mission, beginning from July 18 to July 24, 2023.

    July 18, 2023 – The European Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) requested firefighting assistance to combat forest fires in Greece. In response, Poland offered the GFFFV module, specializing in ground-based firefighting using vehicles. After receiving approval from the Greek government, 149 firefighters and 49 vehicles prepared to depart.

    July 19, 2023 – A briefing was held at Fire and Rescue Unit No. 5, conducted by Deputy Chief of the Polish Fire Service, Brigadier Arkadiusz Przybyła. At around 4:00 PM, the GFFFV unit set off for Greece, heading towards the Attica region.

    July 20, 2023 – After a night’s rest near Budapest, the GFFFV module continued its journey towards Serbia and Bulgaria, where they would have their final stop before reaching their destination.

    July 21, 2023 – At approximately 7:00 AM, the module departed Bulgaria, aiming to reach the Greek border by late evening. Around 11:30 AM, the group entered Greece and headed towards Athens. They arrived in the town of Villia around 8:00 PM, where they were welcomed by a Greek liaison officer. Before 10:00 PM, the rest of the module joined, and a briefing was conducted at the former firefighting school, serving as the Polish firefighters’ base.

    July 22, 2023 – After a morning briefing with GFFFV command and Greek representatives, 12 firefighting trucks, 2 command and communication vehicles, and 2 operational vehicles were deployed to the Mandra and Stefania areas. The remaining module stayed at the operational base in Villia, organizing social facilities, sanitation, and refueling stations.

    July 23, 2023 – A morning shift change took place in both action zones. A fire broke out in two locations near Mandra, prompting an immediate response from 11 firefighting units and Greek firefighting helicopters. The situation was brought under control, and in the evening, another shift change occurred.

    July 24, 2023 – The Polish Ambassador to Greece, Mr. Artur Lompart, visited the operation base and discussed rescue equipment and tactics with the Polish firefighters.

    As the firefighting mission unfolds, the GFFFV module remains in constant communication with Greek authorities. The mission is set to continue until August 2, 2023, as they face the challenges of high wildfire risk, strong winds, and scorching temperatures in Greece.

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