Croatian Firefighters Underpaid, Issues with Staffing for Upcoming Season

Katarina Anđelković

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“This year, we have registered four season workers who also worked last year. We still need two more, and we only have one driver. So, there is only one driver – how is he supposed to drive to all the sites for four months?” Matija Karlo Valinčić, head of DVD Vodice, told HRT, as reported by Index.

Monthly salary of 700 euros

Seasonal firefighters have a salary of 700 euros, and considering the job, that salary only attracts few people. It is even more difficult to find seasonal firefighters in the displaced hinterland.

“We usually need to prepare five or six workers for the season, but I don’t know if those people will come to me by June 1st. If a better job comes up for them, people will go to a better job,” says DVD commander Ervenik Sandro Kanazir.

“As tourism develops, as it increases and the financial situation gets better, the firefighting system suffers a lot,” county fire chief Darko Dukić told HRT.

Tucaković: Wages should be increased

It will be necessary to solve staffing problems with more generous financing. “So, simply – by increasing salaries. And that we will certainly do – where necessary, we will carry out dislocations from the continent, transfer of forces, transfer of equipment – so that we can make and that our summer season be safe again”, said chief fire chief Slavko Tucaković.

Firefighters say that even in the off-season, fewer and fewer young people are ready to work in the fire department. “In previous years, it was quite a large number, 200 – 250 new DVD members. Unfortunately, that number has dropped drastically. For example, this year, we have around seventy new DVD members,” said Dukić.

Air Force Assistance

Due to last year’s experience with large fires in the Šibenik area and Zadar, the firefighters say that they need as much help as possible from the Air Force.

“We are quite strong at the moment; it’s just a question of how much of everything we will have available at a given moment. Because here – last year’s fire could have been solved very quickly at the beginning if we had everything available,” Dukić told HRT.

Meteorologists have announced extreme temperatures for this summer, which means more potential fires.

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