Support for the Volunteer Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos

Duration: 2016-2021
Total amount: 7.446 EUR

The story behind the project

2016A fire engine for Ikaria

The fire engine represents the very first project that we financed from the proceeds of the first «Ikarian Days in Brussels» in 2015.

Fire Engine: Mercedes Benz, 1992
Total donation: 3000,- EUR
Supporters: Participants in the «Ikarian Days 2015» ; volunteer firemen and friends from Potsdam/Germany, «Hellenic Seaways», volunteer firemen from Agios Kirikos

When visiting Ikaria, you become aware of the fact that fires represent a permanent threat to the island and its inhabitants. Everybody still remembers the disastrous fires in 1994 which destroyed a large area in the southern part of Ikaria and unfortunately caused several deaths. You will also notice that the volunteer firemen on the island are not equipped with modern material, but are using fire engines, hoses and clothing that need a lot of maintenance and repairs. Unfortunately, the associations of the volunteer firemen do not have the financial means to buy the necessary new material. So every time they are called to a fire, they are taking a high risk.
In 2015 we learned more about the working conditions of the Association of the Volunteer Firemen of Agios Kirikos. In the event of a fire, they use, among other things, an old vehicle – the « Yiayia (Grandmother) » -, which is nearly 60 years old ; so there was an urgent need to bring more modern material.

Against this background, the members of the Friends of Ikara association started to look into where to buy a used, but more recent fire truck and how to get it to Ikaria. They found what they were looking for in Potsdam/Germany – a town 20 km from Berlin: a fire engine, Mercedes-Benz, 1992. The Friends of Ikaria bought it and also found a volunteer driver, Karsten Gericke, himself a volunteer fireman from Potsdam, who knew about the impact of the financial and economic crisis in Greece on civil society. He liked the idea that a fire engine from Potsdam would be used on Ikaria to make the life of the volunteer firemen easier. So he offered his help and in late October 2016, he drove the fire truck from Potsdam to Venice, facing the first snow while driving through Austria. Karsten was not paid for this trip; the Friends of Ikaria covered his expenses for food, accommodation and the return flight to Berlin.

The fire engine travelled “unaccompanied” with Hellenic Seaways from Venice to Patras ; 50% of the transport costs were covered by the shipping company.
And finally: in Patras, the president of the association of the volunteer firemen of Agios Kirikos was there to receive the donated fire engine and drive it down to Pireus. It was a happy group of drivers! They crossed the sea for free to Agios Kirikos – again courtesy of Hellenic Seaways. It was a great moment when the fire truck arrived finally in the harbour of Agios Kirikos.
Before the “new” engine could be put on the road, it had to undergo some repair work. The expenses were covered by a “makaronada” organised by the Association of Volunteer Firemen of Agios Kirikos in the summer of 2017.

Today, the engine is frequently used in the southern part of Ikaria. You will see it in the area of Therma, Agios Kirikos, Koudouma ….and we are always very happy when we see it driving around, remembering the story behind it and the many people who supported the idea to make it happen.

2019Panagyri in Brussels to collect money for a 2nd fire truck

In 2019 we organised another Ikarian Pangyri in Brussels, among others to collect money for the Volunteer Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos to support them in buying another second hand fire truck, which is badly needed to protect the island.

Total amount: 1000,- EUR

2020Crowdfunding to collect money for a 2nd fire engine

On 13 August 2020, a fire in Monokambi caused great damage to the area. Fortunately no people came to harm, but the incident highlighted the difficult work situation of the volunteer fire brigade.
In order to speed up the financing of the second used fire truck that is necessary to replace old material, we put up a “crowd-funding project” on our Facebook page. So far we have collected 2.791,74 EUR.

The COVID situation made it very difficult to find an adequate fire truck that matches the needs of the association of the Volunteer Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos. So the search goes on. Also the crowd funding continues on our webpage.

Total amount: (August 2020 – December 2021): 2.791,74 EUR.

2021Crowdfunding to collect money for quality safety shoes for the Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos

In the summer of 2021, numerous forest fires caused terrible damage in Greece. This showed again that there is still a great need for good material, especially for voluntary fire fighters. On that background we decided to put up another crowd-funding project to buy quality safety shoes for the Volunteer Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos so that they are well equipped for their next missions. From August – October 2021 we collected 655,- EUR. We added some money from the crowd funding in 2020 (477,12 EUR) in order to buy 11 pairs of adequate professional protective shoes (Fölkl Leutnant). Total costs: 1132,12 EUR

The Greek company Pagomenos gave us a considerable discount on the original price and the Ikarian transport company Metaforiki Ikarias provided free transport from Athens to Ikaria. We are very grateful for their support.

Total donation: 655,- EUR

Πυροσβεστικό όχημα για την Ικαρία

Lessons learned

It is wonderful to see how things can happen, when like-minded people work together. “Oli mazi” or “all together” – is a wonderful expression that has taken the shape, in the best meaning of the words, of a new fire truck for Ikaria.

Support for the Volunteer Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos

Duration: 2016-2021
Total amount: 7.446 EUR

The story behind the project

2016A fire engine for Ikaria

The fire engine represents the very first project that we financed from the proceeds of the first «Ikarian Days in Brussels» in 2015.

Fire Engine: Mercedes Benz, 1992
Total donation: 3000,- EUR
Supporters: Participants in the «Ikarian Days 2015» ; volunteer firemen and friends from Potsdam/Germany, «Hellenic Seaways», volunteer firemen from Agios Kirikos

When visiting Ikaria, you become aware of the fact that fires represent a permanent threat to the island and its inhabitants. Everybody still remembers the disastrous fires in 1994 which destroyed a large area in the southern part of Ikaria and unfortunately caused several deaths. You will also notice that the volunteer firemen on the island are not equipped with modern material, but are using fire engines, hoses and clothing that need a lot of maintenance and repairs. Unfortunately, the associations of the volunteer firemen do not have the financial means to buy the necessary new material. So every time they are called to a fire, they are taking a high risk.
In 2015 we learned more about the working conditions of the Association of the Volunteer Firemen of Agios Kirikos. In the event of a fire, they use, among other things, an old vehicle – the « Yiayia (Grandmother) » -, which is nearly 60 years old ; so there was an urgent need to bring more modern material.

Against this background, the members of the Friends of Ikara association started to look into where to buy a used, but more recent fire truck and how to get it to Ikaria. They found what they were looking for in Potsdam/Germany – a town 20 km from Berlin: a fire engine, Mercedes-Benz, 1992. The Friends of Ikaria bought it and also found a volunteer driver, Karsten Gericke, himself a volunteer fireman from Potsdam, who knew about the impact of the financial and economic crisis in Greece on civil society. He liked the idea that a fire engine from Potsdam would be used on Ikaria to make the life of the volunteer firemen easier. So he offered his help and in late October 2016, he drove the fire truck from Potsdam to Venice, facing the first snow while driving through Austria. Karsten was not paid for this trip; the Friends of Ikaria covered his expenses for food, accommodation and the return flight to Berlin.

The fire engine travelled “unaccompanied” with Hellenic Seaways from Venice to Patras ; 50% of the transport costs were covered by the shipping company.
And finally: in Patras, the president of the association of the volunteer firemen of Agios Kirikos was there to receive the donated fire engine and drive it down to Pireus. It was a happy group of drivers! They crossed the sea for free to Agios Kirikos – again courtesy of Hellenic Seaways. It was a great moment when the fire truck arrived finally in the harbour of Agios Kirikos.
Before the “new” engine could be put on the road, it had to undergo some repair work. The expenses were covered by a “makaronada” organised by the Association of Volunteer Firemen of Agios Kirikos in the summer of 2017.

Today, the engine is frequently used in the southern part of Ikaria. You will see it in the area of Therma, Agios Kirikos, Koudouma ….and we are always very happy when we see it driving around, remembering the story behind it and the many people who supported the idea to make it happen.

2019Panagyri in Brussels to collect money for a 2nd fire truck

In 2019 we organised another Ikarian Pangyri in Brussels, among others to collect money for the Volunteer Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos to support them in buying another second hand fire truck, which is badly needed to protect the island.

Total amount: 1000,- EUR

2020Crowdfunding to collect money for a 2nd fire engine

On 13 August 2020, a fire in Monokambi caused great damage to the area. Fortunately no people came to harm, but the incident highlighted the difficult work situation of the volunteer fire brigade.
In order to speed up the financing of the second used fire truck that is necessary to replace old material, we put up a “crowd-funding project” on our Facebook page. So far we have collected 2.791,74 EUR.

The COVID situation made it very difficult to find an adequate fire truck that matches the needs of the association of the Volunteer Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos. So the search goes on. Also the crowd funding continues on our webpage.

Total amount: (August 2020 – December 2021): 2.791,74 EUR.

2021Crowd funding to collect money for quality safety shoes for the Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos

In the summer of 2021, numerous forest fires caused terrible damage in Greece. This showed again that there is still a great need for good material, especially for voluntary fire fighters. On that background we decided to put up another crowd-funding project to buy quality safety shoes for the Volunteer Fire Fighters in Agios Kirikos so that they are well equipped for their next missions. From August – October 2021 we collected 655,- EUR. We added some money from the crowd funding in 2020 (477,12 EUR) in order to buy 11 pairs of adequate professional protective shoes (Fölkl Leutnant). Total costs: 1132,12 EUR

The Greek company Pagomenos gave us a considerable discount on the original price and the Ikarian transport company Metaforiki Ikarias provided free transport from Athens to Ikaria. We are very grateful for their support.

Total donation: 655,- EUR

Πυροσβεστικό όχημα για την Ικαρία

Lessons learned

It is wonderful to see how things can happen, when like-minded people work together. “Oli mazi” or “all together” – is a wonderful expression that has taken the shape, in the best meaning of the words, of a new fire truck for Ikaria.