Audit in Emergencies Ministry reveals critical shortage of personnel and equipment for firefighters and rescuers

Audit in Emergencies Ministry reveals critical shortage of personnel and equipment for firefighters and rescuers
Photo: Vasily Kuzmichenok / TASS

The department bought drones instead of fire equipment and uniforms.

An internal audit of the Ministry of Emergencies revealed a shortage of personnel, uniform, fuel and equipment in the department. A report on this was made by the Head of the National Center for Crisis Management of the Emergencies Ministry, Viktor Yatsutsenko, in early July during the conference call in the Ministry, RBC reports. The audit was conducted from May 28 to June 15 at the request of the new Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Evgeny Zinichev.

Zinichev reported on the audit at his first conference call of the Ministry of Emergencies in early June. The Minister stated that based on the results of the audit conclusions and make corresponding decisions would be made. At the meeting following the results of the inspection, Zinichev ordered that plans for eliminating shortcomings should be provided to him before July 23. 

The problems identified during the audit appeared in the period when the department was headed by Vladimir Puchkov. For three years the budget of the Ministry of Emergency Situations has been consistently decreased: in 2015 it amounted to 183.4 billion rubles ($2.9 b), in 2016 - 172 billion rubles ($277 m), in 2017 - 168.7 billion rubles ($271.7 m). 

The burning issue revealed during the audit was a shortage of personnel. Currently, the fire department lacks 23.1 thousand people, and duty guards - 10.8 thousand people. The number of guards does not meet the established requirements: the number of combat crew employees in a fire truck is two or three people instead of six, the report reads. 

It is established that after the reduction of the State Fire Supervision staff for each of 9,8 thousand inspectors there are more than a thousand objects. The total number of objects in Russia is about 10 million. 

The number of staff in the airborne units of the Ministry of Emergencies and State Inspection of Small Boats (GIMS) also does not correspond to the complexity and scope of the tasks performed. In particular, the staffing level of GIMS is 82%. The rescue military formations of the Central Federal District also turned out to experience staff issues. According to the authors of the report, this is due to the lack of distribution of graduates of profession-oriented higher education institutions for three years. 

The shortage of employees arose as a result of optimization of the staff, which took place in the department between 2014 and 2018. Because of this, the number of scheduled inspections has decreased and the quality of fighting fires and rescue operations has dropped, said Yatsutsenko. Since 2016, inspections of organizations working in the field of fire safety have not been carried out. Meanwhile, more than 50 thousand organizations work in fire safety systems, the report says. In addition, Yatsutenko said that due to violations and system errors, the number of fires increased, including in malls and shopping and entertainment complexes. In particular, in the six months of 2018, there were 75% more fires in malls and shopping and entertainment centers than during the same period in 2017, the Head of the National Center said. 

The results of the audit also showed that the management decisions taken by the Ministry of Emergency Situations in 2014 led to the "destruction of the logistics system." All specialists in the field of logistical support were reduced and dismissed, the report says. The unified system for planning and accounting for logistical support was eliminated, which resulted in the vertical of the management of the Ministry of Emergency Situations being collapsed. 

The critical situation with the technical equipment of firefighters and rescuers was revealed. Thus, the provision of food was 88%, clothing - 21%, fuel and lubricants - 36%, funds for the maintenance of equipment - 20%, the report says. It is indicated that the service life of 67% of the main fire-fighting equipment has expired. More than a third of fire trucks are used for over 25 years. Uniform is given to firefighters once in four years. 

The audit has unveiled insufficient funding of search and rescue units and aviation of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Not enough funds were allocated for aircraft maintenance - half as much as the established requirements. In 2018, due to a lack of funds, the aviation units were provided only with 30% of the fuel of the main demand, noted Yatsutsenko. 

The medical assistance received by the Ministry of Emergency Situations staff has reduced by 70%, the report indicates. 65 territorial bodies lack medical insurance altogether. The employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations are also almost not provided with dwelling. The total volume of unfinished construction is about 31 billion rubles ($499.3 m). Upwards of 300 objects are not completed, the construction of apartment houses with a fund of 706 apartments has not been finished.

It was established that when developing the parameters of the state defense order for the period from 2018 to 2027, the proposals of the research divisions of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the needs of the combat units were not taken into account. The program did not include high-altitude equipment, fire motor ladders, articulated lifts in the amount of 340 pieces worth more than 1 billion rubles ($16.1 thousand), 21 thousand fire fighting clothes for more than 75 million rubles ($1.2 m), more than 39 thousand fire hoses for more than 170 million rubles ($2.7 m). 

That said, the department purchased 2,000 drones for 450 million rubles ($7.2 m). The real need for them, according to the author of the report, is only 88 pieces. The technical characteristics of the drones do not meet the needs: they can work at temperatures from 0 to 40 degrees, and the maximum flight time is 23 minutes. 

In addition, the authors of the report found 1360 tank trunks worth 24 billion rubles ($386.7 m) in the state defense order. The cost of these trucks is twice the cost of ones purchased in the framework of the defense order in advance.

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