Laukna Fire Brigade as a non-profit organization was established in 2006. It is one of the thirteen volunteer fire departments located in Rapla County, Estonia. The members of Laukna Fire Brigade protect approximately the area of 600 square kilometers in the western part of Rapla County and the surrounding areas of Lääne County. The rescue capacity corresponds to standard 1.
The purposes of Laukna Fire Brigade are following:
- To be at action stations for the fire and rescue service.
- To help professional firefighters to put out the fire.
- To promote and improve the safety and welfare of the citizens by providing educational programs for suppression: life care, management, and prevention.
- To disseminate the information about fire and rescue service, courses, meetings, and competitions among its members.
- To organize and/or take part in professional training camps, games, competitions, study courses, meetings, and campaigns.
- To arrange trainings for youngsters in order to introduce them fire and rescue service.
- To arrange cohesive events for its members to bind them together.
- To organize charity and welfare events for citizens.
- To establish friendly relations with other organizations in Estonia and abroad.
- To be represented in local and central government and in other organizations through its membership.
The membership of the brigade has increased to 31 persons and six of them are women. In addition to official members there are also 12 youngsters who are involved in different activities and competitions.
Laukna Fire Brigade has not got a fire station. It is still a dream to have its own building one day. The volunteer firefighters operate with one rescue truck Mercedes-Benz and one fire engine GAZ 66. An additional truck GAZ 53 stays in reserve and it is used mostly in competitions. The volunteers repair and take care of engines by themselves.
The members of Laukna Fire Brigade have also reconstructed another two old fire trucks for entertaining activities- there is a sauna inside of one truck and a bath tub on the top of the other. Laukna Fire Brigade rents out both of them and earns money to the organization in this way. The fire engines have been used on road building and even in filmmaking (Sofi Oksanen ”Puhdistus”). These trucks have also been severally showed on exhibitions and parades.
The annual budget of Laukna Fire Brigade is formed by:
- renting trucks (sauna and bath tub)
- writing projects
- offering services with trucks (e.g. on road building, in filmmaking, watering racecourses and plantations etc.)
- a government grant for prevention work
- membership fees (actually have not been collected for some years)
There are no employees in the organization.
One of the most exciting activity in the organization is training for competitions. The volunteers arrange training for youngsters as well to introduce them basic knowledge of fire and rescue service. They exercise every year from May to August and take part in competitions at least once a month. Laukna Fire Brigade has four teams (boys, girls, women, men) and they all have won many prizes. The main competition is the Fire Championship of Rapla County. Laukna Fire Brigade has held the championship for many years.
The volunteer firefighters are known to set a high value on improving their professional skills. They take regularly part in different training seminars and camps. 6 firefighters, who work as professionals, have higher education and 18 persons, who work as semi- professionals, have finished different short training courses. One member of Laukna Fire Brigade, Veiko Ülejõe, is awarded a medal with the title: ”Cavalier of Rescue Service 2010” for outstanding work.
It is also a very important thing for Laukna Fire Brigade to organize cohesive events to its members. Every year there take place excursions to museums and other interesting places. The youngsters have even visited Latvian capital Riga.
The volunteers organize charity and welfare events for citizens as well. The best known is the annual Midsummer Day`s party on the 24th of June at Laukna with a huge bonfire, a dance evening, barbecue and games.
There are also arranged educational programs and demonstrations at schools and kindergartens. The volunteer firefighters introduce children how to avoid risks and use fire extinguishers and a fire blanket. Old people are helped with installing fire alarms to their houses and youngsters are involved in very interesting life-saving and rescue campaigns.
The members of Laukna Fire Brigade have also helped to develop a rest area where most of local public events take place. There are an outdoor swimming pool, a grill with benches, a playing field for volleyball, a stage under the roof for dance, and a bus that is used as a cafe during the events in this place.
Laukna Fire Brigade has very good relationships with colleagues of Rapla, Saare and Lääne County. The volunteers visit each other and organize entertaining activities. Laukna Fire Brigade has arranged the Police and Fire Games and the annual Midsummer Day`s party for firefighters.
Laukna Fire Brigade has established friendly relations with foreign firefighters` organizations as well. The volunteers are in collaboration with Swedish and Finnish colleagues. The purpose of the collaboration is to arrange study visits and exchange knowledge (how is the firefighters` work arranged, which equipment do fire brigades use, which is a state of fire stations, how are volunteers formed, how do firemen spend their spare time etc.)