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Background

The Firefighters’ Association, which brings together the volunteer firefighters of Järva-Jaani, was founded in 1899. More recently, the town also had a professional rescue brigade; since its closure in 2002, volunteers have been watching over the safety of the community.

The building from which the current volunteer brigade operates was built by volunteer firefighters in 1903 as a society house for the community. During the Soviet era, the building was used as a cinema for a long period, but now the volunteer firefighters are back in the structure built by their predecessors.

Background

When the volunteer rescue brigade resumed operations in the building in 2002, conditions were rather meagre. The fire truck was co-purchased with the help of a Finnish twin municipality, and clothing and equipment were provided as humanitarian aid. However, this did not deter those who wanted to take action: the company has grown from year to year and has upgraded its equipment as much as possible.

So much rescue equipment accumulated over time that the time came when there was no space left in the brigade building to accommodate all the vehicles. Also, modern fire trucks couldn’t really fit in through the garage doors.

The driveway from the garage to the road had limited visibility and therefore dangerous situations arose repeatedly. There were times when responding to a call that the fire truck just barely escaped colliding with vehicles driving down Piibe Road or with the cars of volunteers rushing to the brigade building, as well as with the rescue vehicle of the professional fire brigade coming from Koeru.

It was therefore necessary to expand the building, add new doors and make the entrances and exits safer. Applying for LHV's support was one way for Ivar Kärner’s team to find funding to carry out the necessary work.

Planning

The Järva-Jaani rescue volunteers did not have experience in preparing, planning and managing a construction project. However, with the help of the community, both a person familiar with writing projects and people to carry out other tasks needed for applying for funding were found.

The whole project was a big learning experience for the volunteer rescue brigade, which led to some things having to be redone. The biggest setback due to inexperience was the delay in obtaining a building permit. However, the people of Järva-Jaani managed to overcome the technical difficulties. They realised that it was important to take the bull by the horns and make the project happen.

Repair work

When, after a successful application, construction work began on the brigade building in early January this year, everything went smoothly.

The old foundation of the building was excavated and renovated, and a new load-bearing structure was built. Three new overhead sectional doors were added to the side of the garage that used to be without openings. An exit road was built from there to the street, which now makes it much safer to respond to calls.

Result

The volunteer rescuers are satisfied with the result of the project, which took a year to complete. Some of it had to be improvised and flexibility was needed, but the extensions of the building and the driveway fully match the desired outcome.

For the implementation of a successful community project, head of fire brigade Ivar Kärner has three recommendations for beginners.
  • First, the initial idea has to be excellent. If the idea is there, make sure it is viable: does your team think the plan is feasible? Only then can it come to fruition.
  • The second important step is to create a team because you can’t achieve great things alone.
  • If all the prerequisites (i.e. a good idea and a good team) are met, get acquainted with the bureaucracy of financing and implementing the idea at an early stage. What are the requirements for applying for funding and what are the requirements for implementing the project? Keep in mind that the expenses for any project, especially a construction
Management

Ivar Kärner, head of the volunteer rescue brigade

The main leader of the project was the head of the volunteer rescue brigade Ivar Kärner, who was supported by members of the Järva-Jaani community in various roles. Ivar says that his daily job as a project manager is what made it work out for him. Thanks to this, he was able to rely on his experience in managing processes and people, despite the fact that he had not been involved in construction projects before.

Management

Tuve Kärner, leader

Ivar Kärner’s father Tuve Kärner is a legend in Järva-Jaani, who is also infected with his son’s passion for fire rescue. Thanks to Tuve’s extensive network of contacts, it was possible to put together a project team of locals with a large set of skills.

Project

Arto Saar, brigade volunteer

Volunteer of the brigade and former rural municipality mayor Arto Saar lent his support during the preparation of the project. He advised on additional funding issues and getting municipal approval for documents and permits.

Additional help

Andreas Sapas, brigade volunteer

During the construction works, Siim Pedius, Uku Pilv and Andreas Sapas, brigade volunteers, also helped with construction and other practical work.

Project writer

Ülle Jääger, project writer

Ülle Jääger, who works as a teacher, was indispensable in the team because of her extensive experience as a project writer. On the one hand, she was able to present the project to the committee in an interesting way, i.e. to illustrate the dry and technical content and make it more lively. On the other hand, she was very familiar with the project writing process and knew the order in which to focus on the different stages and what nuances are important. An experienced project writer also has a good overview of the possibilities available for applying for support.

Additional help

Villi Bluum, brigade volunteer

Villi Bluum, one of the volunteers of the brigade, was always the first to help when extra hands were needed during the construction work. Whether something had to be demolished, covered due to construction dust or other construction tasks had to be performed – Villi was always there.

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