At the 5th National Coordination Meeting on the Improvement of Prevention and Safe Extinguishing of Forest Fires in the Exclusion Zone and Communications with the Public, last year's achievements and strategy for the coming years were discussed.

The coordination meeting is ongoing within the framework of the three-day format of the United States Forest Service Technical Assistance Project and is organized by the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, the State Emergency Situations Service, the Regional East European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) and the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine.

During the discussions, the following questions were raised:

improvement of legislation on prevention and response to emergencies;
improvement of the forest protection system from fires in the exclusion zone (current state, needs and plans for the future);
perspectives of training specialists on the extinguishing of forest fires in the Exclusion Zone, fire management and the state of preparedness of fire departments;
legislative initiatives aimed at creating an integrated forest protection system from fires in the Exclusion Zone; increase of efficiency of interagency interaction of protection of forests from fires; safety of fire department employees, as well as improvement of fire infrastructure.

"We are dealing with a territory contaminated with radionuclides, which is why radiation safety is the main objective that the activities of SAUEZM enterprises in the Exclusion Zone are aimed at. Among them: radiation control and monitoring, maintenance of territories in a safe sanitary and fire condition, improvement of skills in the timely prevention of fire and response to them during a fire hazard period. The fulfillment of all these tasks reduces the risks of spreading radionuclides in the adjacent territories," - Vitalii Petruk, the Head of SAUEZM, emphasized.
According to the Head of SAUEZM, thanks to colleagues from the US Forest Service in 2017 Ukraine was provided with effective professional and technical assistance, in particular the Ukrainian delegation received experience in extinguishing major fires in the USA, as well as in the work of interdepartmental coordination centers, operational response of the field headquarters for extinguishing large fires from the most experienced western specialists. In addition, Ukrainians received 39 kits of combat suits and 5 video cameras for the system of early detection of fires.

Last year, for the purpose of providing fire safety, the reconstruction of the Lubianivska and Opachytska forest fire stations (FFS) of the SSE "Pivnichna Pushcha" was completed.

According to Vitalii Petruk, t the Fire Safety Development Strategy in 2018 and subsequent years is in development, where the main accents became:

Establishing an interdepartmental coordination center for the prevention and response to fires and emergencies, equipped with modern technical equipment (it is necessary to study the experience of similar centers of the US Forest Service);

development of the project of a unified system of radio communication between FFS of SSE "Pivnichna Pushcha", units of the Chornobyl radiation and ecological biosphere reserve, SESS, Police and the National Guard (dispatchers, FFS duty stations, cars, workers (firefighters, police);

the organization of joint trainings with the US Forest Service and employees of various fire services (firefighters, department heads, extinguishing heads, firefighting headquarters staff, including SESS staff).

In addition, during the next two session days, the peculiarities of working with mass media during the fire, as well as trainings from the US Forest Service and communication skills for the senior staff will be discussed.

In the end there is a synthesis of the Action Plan for 2018-2019 on improving the protection of forests from fires and reducing the risks of major fires in the Exclusion Zone.

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