State-of-the-art fire-station opens in Cēsis

Brand-new premises that other fire and rescue service workers can still only dream of have opened in the central Vidzeme provincial town of Cēsis, the first of any modernized facilities yet to be built and equipped in Latvia since regaining independence.

Modern, expansive rooms for personnel and equipment, a proper vehicle maintenance and repair garage, training rooms better stocked than some fitness clubs, including a climbing wall. These job perks are now part of firefighters’ real daily working conditions in Cēsis, where the first fire and rescue depot in Latvia to be built specifically for today’s rescue services in accordance with EU standards is now serving the community.

The new facility will serve also as a training ground for all of Latvia’s state Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) workers.

“The spaciousness is the biggest shock, I haven’t even seen all the rooms yet,” gushed commander Dzintars Bartuševics, adding that the training gym is a big plus.

According to brigade commander Jānis Skrastiņš, the farther-flung small towns of Smiltene and Ape in northern Vidzeme are in line to get new fire stations, with word awaited this week on who will get to design the buildings. Both communities are in dire need of modern facilities, as everywhere else in Latvia but Cēsis.

“The depot in Smiltene was built in the century before the last, when firemen kept horse stables and dragged water barrels in carts behind them,” Skrastiņš recalled.

The border town of Valka, in a race to development with its twin Estonian sister-city Valga in which it often lags, is expected to be the next Vidzeme local government to get a new VUGD station, where one is scheduled to be completed and opened in March of 2015.

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