Danish News Round-up: Emergency services boss warns of fire fighter manpower shortages – The Post

Danish News Round-up: Emergency services boss warns of fire fighter manpower shortages

In other stories, the Danish customs will be able to assist if the UK crashes out of Europe, a tree planting project is thwarted and a venerable crisp packet found

It’s no good having top-of-the range equipment if there’s nobody to operate it (photo: 17071/Pixabay
April 10th, 2019 11:25 am| by Stephen Gadd

Denmark has a long tradition of having part-time and volunteer firefighters, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to get enough of them – especially in the smaller towns. At present more than half of the country’s 314 fire stations are short of personnel, according to the Danish emergency services organisation Danske Beredskaber.

One of the criterion for becoming a part-time or volunteer firefighter is that you must be able to reach the fire station within five minutes. Because more people are commuting to the bigger towns to work, it is impossible for them to get to the station in time, Jarl Vagn Hansen, the head of Danske Beredskaber, told TV2 Nyheder.

More flexibility sought
According to Hansen, if things continue this way, it will mean higher taxes to pay for more permanent staff at fire stations. He would also like to see companies being more flexible when it comes to allowing employees who are firefighters to leave work at odd times during the day. “Both private and public employees should stand shoulder to shoulder to release employees for the fire service so that we can ensure a cheap, efficient and safe service that is close to citizens,” said Hansen.

Danish customs open late on Brexit day
Will they, won’t they – nobody knows for sure when it comes to Brexit, but the Danish customs service Toldstyrelsen is preparing for all eventualities and has announced that it will stay open all night from Friday to Saturday this week. If British PM Theresa May is unable to convince her EU colleagues to grant an extension, the UK is set to leave the EU on Friday at 23:00 UK time. “If there is a ‘no deal’, during the night between April 12 and 13, a number of companies might be in doubt as to what they should do, so we are providing an extra service by staying open during he night, Toldstyrelsen’s commercial director Maren Holm Jakobsen told DR Nyheder.

Diocese blocks tree planting in Jutland
A local farmer in Ølsted, eastern Jutland, has been trying for nine years to obtain permission to plant a 12-hectare oak and beech wood on his own land. However, although local people and the local church are behind the move, Haderslev diocese has used a 30-year-old law to stop him, reports TV2 Nyheder. The law states that churches should stand out as significant local landmarks. “There’s a good reason Denmark has such a beautiful landscape and that is the protection of our cultural heritage. Sometimes this can stand in the way of good initiatives,” the Bishop of Haderslev, Marianne Christiansen, told TV2. At present, 14 percent of Denmark is covered by forest and the Ministry of the Environment would like to see this increased to 25 percent by the end of this century.

Ancient crisp packet turns up in forest
Plastic waste in nature has been increasingly in focus in everything from the sea to drinking water. A major problem is that plastic takes so long to break down, and this was emphasised by a chance discovery last week. A pedagogue with a group of children was out in Lisbjerg Forest just outside Aarhus digging a new bed to plant potatoes. A plastic bag came to light that proved to be a Kims paprika-flavoured potato crisps bag with a use-by date of 2 October 1978. “The bag is actually as old as I am, and it is the bag that has changed the least over the more than 40 years,” said the finder, pedagogue Emil Hahn-Thomsen, to TV2 Østjylland.

Billund Airport wins award
For the second year on the trot, Billund Airport in Jutland has scooped the award for the best European airport when it comes to developing new routes in the category for airports with under four million passengers, reports check-in.dk. The airport received the award at the Routes Europe conference in Hannover. Billund fought off competition from Chisinau International (Moldova), Zagreb Franjo Tudman (Croatia), Kalamata International (Greece) and Antwerp (Belgium).