TIRANA – The Transport Community Permanent Secretariat, in cooperation with the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX), has organised an expert mission to enhance Albania’s and its firefighters’ capacity for emergency intervention during the transport of dangerous goods. This expert mission, which ran in Tirana and Durrës from 18 to 20 September, saw cooperation between Albania and two Nordic nations, Sweden, and Finland.
During the expert mission, Mr Juha Suhominen, a Specialist at Finland’s Emergency Response Centre Agency (ERCA), Mr Mattias Wigert, a Firefighter and Trainer at the Södertörn Fire Service Association in Sweden, Mr Patrik Tomaselli, the Section Chief – dangerous substances, CBRN, Sweden, and Dr. Monica Stanciu, Transport Community’s Desk Officer for Transport of Dangerous Goods, engaged with authorities in Albania to address the challenges they face. The mission aimed to develop a future cooperation plan and activities focused on enhancing the daily practices of firefighters. The participants in this mission also explored ways to improve intervention capacities in the event of accidents involving chemicals and chemical products classified as dangerous goods.
The mission kicked off at the Ministry of Interior and included visits to fire stations in Tirana and Durrës. These visits allowed experts to gather feedback and information for recommending further actions. Cooperation was also strengthened with the 112-operating centre for Tirana, the 127-operating centre for medical emergencies, the Durrës Regional Council, and the Coordination Centre of the National Agency of Civil Protection.
Previously, the Albanian delegation conducted a study visit to Sweden and Finland from 16 to 30 June 2023 to observe emergency response activities in the two countries. This visit laid the foundations for further training and the formulation of projects tailored to Albania’s specific needs, as stated by Holta Komino, Director of the Fire Protection and Rescue Services.
The findings from the study visit and the expert mission will be presented to the Transport of Dangerous Goods Committee and relevant decision-making bodies within the Transport Community and Albania for endorsement.
During the expert mission, the Transport Community Permanent Secretariat commended the Albanian Government for its Decision of the Council of Ministers which tentatively approved a project for the development of a Multifunctional Training Centre for Rapid Intervention and other State Police structures. The Secretariat pledged ongoing support for the project’s maturation and the development of regional cooperation between transport and internal affairs ministries, including fire intervention departments.
Thanks to the Commission services, TAIEX offers valuable capacity-building tools for in-depth expert-level discussions to address challenges faced by EU candidate and potential candidate countries, including Albania. All regional partners are encouraged to explore similar assistance programs.