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Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority

National Fire Service Symposium Held in İstanbul 07 May 2018

Speaking during the opening of the “National Fire Service Symposium” organized in İstanbul by the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Head of AFAD Dr. Mehmet Güllüoğlu said his institution has shaped its strategies and road maps with priority according to the measures that should be taken before the occurrence of incidents.

Making the keynote speech of the symposium, Güllüoğlu stated that AFAD was founded in 2009 by merging three different institutions in an effort to carry out the management of disasters from one hand and setting standards for search, rescue and fire services that are among the duties of his institution.

“As a part of our mission, we stand by people during hard times,” said Güllüoğlu adding that, “Due to this reason, fire department workers, AFAD workers, 112 call center workers are mainly secret heroes. I would like to use this opportunity to commemorate fire department corporal Taner Çelebi who was martyred last week and Erhan Yazgan and Aykut Kabakcıoğlu who were martyred in Bolu during the weekend while fighting fires.”

Güllüoğlu said fire fight culture, disaster management culture and safe living culture should be transferred to younger generations when children are still young and added, “Firefighter Sami, Firefighter Tamer should be the heroes of our children.”

Noting that something must change and develop, Güllüoğlu said, “We have to design our cities by considering possible disasters. For the last three days, floods in Ankara and other provinces forces us to remember this fact one more time. We have to consider hard days while planning infrastructure of cities.”

"Risk reduction and measures"

The Head of AFAD mentioned three fundamental stages of disaster management namely, risk reduction, response and improvement and went on to say the following: We do everything in our power to respond to disasters and we will continue to do so. We will keep developing our human resources and equipment. We will keep pace with technological developments. But, the most important factor is reducing the risk. If we fail to take measures before the occurrence of disasters, accidents and fires, we cannot be successful as much as we need to be while responding these cases of emergencies and we cannot prevent undesired deaths and injuries. Due to this reason, urban transformation, earthquake regulation, disaster training and obligatory earthquake insurance are very important. If we achieve to reduce the risk before a disaster takes place, then we can be ready for disasters. But if we fail to develop risk reduction culture as much as we develope our 300 year old fire departments, we can never be prepared for disasters. Due to this reason, I insistently focus on risk reduction and measures.”

The Head of AFAD Güllüoğlu ended his speech by reciting a fire service prayer.

Meanwhile, Deputy İstanbul Governor Şahin Aslan said standards and service quality maintained in İstanbul and the city fire department against disasters formed a role model for the whole model.

Noting that countries like Turkey which are located on a disaster zone should always be prepared for emergency research and rescue works, Aslan said, “We are always prepared for such organized work.”

Meanwhile, General Secretary of İstanbul Metropolitan Mayor Hayri Baraçlı said that the İstanbul Fire Department has been carrying out its activities in many various different fields adding that, “Our Fire Department is a 304 year old institution. This structure closely keeps monitoring most recent developments and carries its service quality to higher levels. The Fire Department is vital for the security of cities. All firefighters keep receiving training about increasing urban security.”

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