Jumaat, 14 Oktober 2011


History of Service

The first fire fighters unit in Latvia was established in 1845 in Daugavpils on the basis of police fire fighters unit.

At the end of 1864 group of inhabitants lead by Ivan Himiller initiated forming of the Voluntary Fire Fighters Association in Riga. In May 17, 1865 Riga City Voluntary Fire-fighters Command first time extinguished the fire in the Old Riga.

In the same 1865, inhabitants of Jelgava liven up as well and baker Adolf Eduard Pral was elected as the first chairman of the Fire Fighters Association. Step by step voluntary fire fighters units stared form around the Latvia. In 30ies of XX century the number of associations reached 240.

In 1882 so called "Running Column" was formed, members of which was paid (employed) by the Riga City. In January 1, 1907 the Riga City Fire Command started operation. Command was formed by merging of four voluntary divisions and "Running Column". Command was lead by "brandmajor".

At the turn of the X IX and XX centuries' development of services financed by municipalities boomed including the fire fighting institutions. Between the 1886 and 1902 three fire depots were built by architect Reinhold Schmeling (Akmeņu str.17, Matisa str. 9, Maskavas 3). Construction of the depot in Hanzas str. 5 was expensive for the Riga City. Action of the depot was started in January 1, 1911.

At the beginning of XX steam pumps, mechanic ladders were used for the fighting of fires. Horses were used for the transporting of technique. In 1910 Riga City purchased first fire truck "Merryweather". Peter's Voluntary Fire Fighters ordered construction of first fire truck in the Baltic "Russo-Balt" (produced by Riga Coach Factory), which is the oldest car produced in Latvia and survived by today (sightworthy in Riga Engines Museum).

In the May, 1932 Regulation on Riga City fire command was approved by the Riga City council. Regulation settled that fire fighters are disciplined, organised, and technically forceful command. In 1939, Passive Air Protection Board was formed consisting from three divisions: operative, technical, fire fighting.

By establishment of this board the leading role of Latvian Fire-fighters associations and organisations was denoted. In the middle of 30-ies fire truck „ Ford-Vairogs" gained wide popularity apart from fire technique obtained abroad. Latvian car body Joint stock Company „Vairogs" produced modifications of bodies and used engines produced by USA. Fire truck was one of types of bodies. Voluntary fire-fighters were top users of this possibility. By the lack of resources they used under bought trucks and rebuilt its.
Professional fire-fighters mostly used 2 types of trucks: car stairs (to rescue of people and to access to fire in multy-storied houses) and car pumps (to provide water for extinguishing).

Technical resources and professional skills of Latvian fire-fighters kept up with the fire-fighters of many Western European countries.

In 1929 Latvia joined International Technical Committee for the Prevention and Extinction of Fire - CTIF (nowadays International Association of Fire and Rescue Services).

Development of the Latvian Fire Service was stopped by the beginning of II WW.

At the end of 1944 forming of Fire Department was started under responsibility of People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs.

At the end of 1945 Latvian Voluntary Fire-fighters Movement restored action. Movement was led by the Senior Council of Voluntary Fire-fighters Associations of SSRL.

In 1946 the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs was renamed as Ministry of Interior. In same year Regulation on SSRL Paramilitary Fire Services of Ministry of Interior was approved.

During 60ies Fire Service developed as engineer technical service and detailed research (studies) of fires taken place. In 1962 Fire Experimental Station was established to test fire hazards of household objects, materials, different substances, to carry out scientifical research and to submit conclusions of expertise.

In 1974 Operational Staff was established under Service and Training Division to improve action. In same year fire-fighters got new depot in Kengaraga Street in Riga with 10 garages and equipment for training. Training Unit was located in these premises. Since April of 2002 the Fire Safety and Civil Protection College is located in these premises.

In 1970 Council of Ministers of USSR adopted decision on improvement of fire safety in objects of national economy wherewith hard work was made to implement systems of alarm and automatic fire-fighting in objects. At the end of 70ies Fire Automatic Division was established under state fire supervision of Fire Board. In its turn Fire Experiment Station was renamed as Fire Technical Station.

At the beginning of 90ies fire-fighting system was touched by wide reforms raised by changes in Latvia. Fire Department of Ministry of Interior was renamed as Fire and Rescue Service Department, but paramilitary units hereafter called as fire and rescue units. After regaining or independence Fire safety system was lead by J.Labis and deputies of him V.Jemeljanov and P.Zagorskis as well.

In October 8, 1991 by the order of minister of interior 11 months training courses for junior and middle commanding staff was established to prepare officers for fire-fighting of independent Latvia.

In December 1991 by the order of minister of interior was implemented a new fire and rescue service ranks:
  • corporals, sergeant, senior sergeant, deputy officer;
  • lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain, major;
  • Lieutenant colonel, colonel, general
In September, 1998 Riga City Board was established for improvement of work and coordination.

From the 1997 to 2005 chief of Service was general A.Straume.
From 2006 Service is lead by general A.Pencis

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