My station is the 1st Fire Station of Athens (1ος Πυροσβεστικός Σταθμός Αθηνών). It can easily be found by searching for Mourouzi 4, Athens, Greece.

We are working on four (4) shifts. Three shifts are working daily and one is having day off. Our working week has eight (8) days. We start work having two night shifts (22:00 till next morning 07:30), then we have two midday shifts (14:00-22:00), two morning shifts follow (07:30-14:00). The other two days that follow are days off.

Usually day shifts (07:30 - 22:00) require more people because we are also having some vehicles patroling the streets of Athens, thus these shifts are having 25-35 people. Night shift has a little bit more than 20 people. These numbers change in the summer period, due to the patrol vehicles that are on the mountain next to the city.

We are a mixed station, meaning we also have some volunteers, sometimes. The majority of them is only appointed for telephone service (receiving incidents and ringing bells), while a few others are working just like the rest of us.

I am not going to lie that we are having training sessions daily, or weekly, or even monthly, because we are not having any training at all. I usually search for my own training material via Internet. This is actually how I found FFN. I was searching for a FDNY Forcible Entry Guidebook, which started from the question "What on earth is a halligans use?" . Training is not existing for various reasons, the main one being that senior firemen are too bored to take part in the training, or that we sometimes have no time at all due to the frequency of minor incidents that are ruining training.

Equipment is also another problem. We barely have all the means of personal protection. I have bought most of my equipment via a friend in the US. I was the first one to wear a nomex hood. Now I am in Poland and I bought another five (5) hoods for other firemen in my station (acting as an importer, since hoods are not to be found in the greek market). To be frank, people in my station are also not using all of their equipment. No one was using the trousers that comes with the anti-fire jacket (sorry, but I have no clue how this part is nammed). One of the most important things that we should take care of is our life. Otherwise we are not going to be able to give our help to the people that need it. When I was wearing my trousers (now it looks as if I was only with my underwear the previous times :) ) everyone was having a laugh, because I was dressed like a clown. Well that clown was still dry after several fires, while others were complaining that they wet to the bone. The number of people wearing most of their equipment has increased, but we definitely need more time so that everyone will be wearing ALL of his equipment and not just parts.

It is really a mixed blessing being next to the Headquarters. We get to know the news first, but unfortunately the cons are much more. We cannot function properly, becayse we do not have space for us.

The vehicles that we usually have every shift are the following:
1-1A : (4-5 people) fire incidents, (elevators), accidents, general assistance
1-1B : (2-3 people) fire incidents, (floods), garbage on fire, general assistance
1-1D: (2 people) elevators, floods. When this car works it the previous cars don't have these duties.
10 tons: (2-3 people)No need to say when this car goes out
Snorkel 19m: (2-3 people) Snorkel & ladder have the same crew. So if one goes out, the other vehicles remain.
Ladder 30m
Ladder 52m Almost unusable. It was bought for the 2004 Olympics. We don't have so big streets for the car to stabilise properly.
1-23: (3-4 people) Works only from 07:30-22:00, patroling the city streets.
1-27: (3-4 people) Patrols the city streets and remains in an older station during the night.

We generally have a very good time at work. First thing that ALWAYS happens, no matter what, we check the vehicles and the equipment. After doing this in everything in the station we can do whatever we want. At nights we order food and we eat all together. At middays the same. At mornings spending the time in the cafeteria talking or watching TV.

I know that I was not created to be an author, thus if I get carried away sometimes please excuse me...

Greetings from Greece.

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Comment by Georgios Savvidis on July 8, 2009 at 7:01pm
Sure thing Bobby! I will provide more photos of my station tomorrow.
As for the helmet used here, it is produced from Gallet
My helmet is the one in my profile pic..
Comment by Bobby on July 7, 2009 at 2:25pm
Georgios, this has been very informative and as another full volenteer dept we also have many problems with training, although, we have been very fortanate with our country having grant programs other wise my dept probly wouldn't have 95% of the equip that we do. if you don't mind i would love to see some more pics of your station and equip, also what type of helmet do you have on there? take care and be safe
Comment by Georgios Savvidis on February 8, 2009 at 4:55pm
Thank you very much for your comment Tom!
I totally agree on the last one! :) Fire does not discriminate!!!!
There are many things that need to be changed! But hey,
Rome was not build in one night!!! On the contrary, it was
burned in one.... :)
We just need some time to 'blossom'...
Comment by Tom Ricotta on February 8, 2009 at 4:11pm
Geirgios, I am sorry to hear that your department doesn't train much. I belong to a all volunteer fire company and it sounds as if we put in a lot more hours on training then you. That hasn't always been the way. What you say about the old timers used to be the same for us, but thins have changed and many especially the younger ones take their training very seriously. Fire cares weather you are paid or a volunteer, it will burn you just the same.
Comment by Georgios Savvidis on January 22, 2009 at 3:42am
True! You are more than lucky lutan1!
Can you imagine yourself working under
the same conditions with us?
Comment by lutan1 on January 22, 2009 at 3:32am
Wow! Reading some of the issues with equipment, PPE and training makes you realise how lucky we actually are...
Comment by Georgios Savvidis on January 22, 2009 at 3:17am
Thanks a lot for your comment Mick!
I will definitely ask for guidance and additional knowledge in the future :)
Comment by Mick Mayers on January 21, 2009 at 9:58pm
That is excellent information and I am really glad you shared that with us. If there's anything I have gotten from FFN is the way other countries do the same job. Please keep me posted if you need more information about things we do here in the States and again, I'm glad to see you in here!
Comment by Georgios Savvidis on January 21, 2009 at 1:38pm
Thank you very much for your comment Jeff!
Honesty I was never worried for my english! :)
It just happens that I am still learning english/american firefighting terminology.
Comment by Jeff Betz on January 21, 2009 at 10:41am
Thank you Georgios! Don't worry if your English or grammar isn't correct, our (American's) Greek isn't very good either! I am glad you informed us how things operate in your city, I find it very interesting. It makes me think about providing fire protection in a whole different manner,which is a good thing.

If i read your information correctly, you mentioned the fact that you weren't sure what the name for the trousers is. Well, in my area we call the trousers "bunker pants" or "bunker gear". The name comes from the days when we would only put these pants on at night, while we were in our bunk room (bedroom). So we called them "bunk" or "bunker" pants. During the day we wore Hip length or "day boots" for fires.

Again, thanks for writing, keep in touch - Jeff

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