Strengthened capacities of the Mountain Rescue Services from BIH and MNE with support of the EU

In Mostar, in the period 12-14 June 2023, a training and intervention exercise was held for members of the Mountain Rescue Services (MRS) from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, with the aim of strengthening cross-border cooperation and the readiness of members of the MRS for rescue interventions.

On this occasion, mountain rescue equipment worth 36.600 BAM was handed to members of the Mountain Rescue Service from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Funds for the purchase of equipment were financed by the European Union through the “Joint Response” project, which is implemented as part of the Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro Cross-Border Cooperation Program.

„First of all, I would like to thank the Delegation of the European Union and the Directorate for Civil Protection and Firefighting of HN Canton for the opportunity to show part of our skills and equipment that we have – through this exercise. This and similar exercises are an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of MRS in an urban area. Namely, as you know, MRS is a service whose primary activity is rescuing injured persons in non-urban and inaccessible areas (mountains, canyons, speleological facilities, etc.) regardless of weather and other conditions. For the above, we need professional and capable people and equipment, therefore the equipment we received through this project and the connection with colleagues from Montenegro are of great importance in our further work,” emphasized Mihovil Čuljak, representative of the Hercegovina Mountain Rescue Service, Mostar.

The common goal and purpose of the Mountain Rescue Services is to save human lives with constant education, training and training of members in order to improve the quality and speed of rescue, but also the safety of all members and people on the ground.

„In parallel with the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, we are also working on another important component, which is the building of partner relations and trust. Trust is the foundation of progress, upgrading, development. In the field, in crisis and risky situations, there must be trust between rescuers. Unfortunately, recently we have witnessed an increasing number of accidents in which the support of neighbouring countries is also needed, so cross-border cooperation is very important in that context,” said Tijana Rakočević, representative of the Nikšić Protection and Rescue Service.

Eugen Ćubela, acting director of the Administration for Civil Protection and Firefighting of HNŽ, which is also the Lead partner of the “Joint Response” project, said: “The goal of the project is to improve the entire system of protection and rescue, which includes strengthening the capacity and equipment of services, training new members, preparing planning documents, raising awareness of all stakeholders who can and should implement preventive measures and strengthening of cross-border cooperation and trust between services and people who risk their lives every day in the field.”

The total value of the “Joint Response” project is over 590.000 EUR, of which the European Union provided around 490.000 EUR in grants. Implementation started on 01.07.2022. and will last for 2 years, and it is carried out by the Directorate for Civil Protection and Firefighting of HN Canton in cooperation with partners: Entrepreneurship and Business Association LiNK Mostar and the Foundation for the Development of the North of Montenegro (FORS MNE).