Dobrovoljno vatrogasno društvo
Telefoni za dojavu: 193 - Operativno dežurstvo JVP Grada Varaždina, 112 - Županijski centar 112 Varaždin
Gdje se nalazite: Početna > Home page

Welcome to the website of the DVD Sveti Đurđ

W E L C O M E!

Welcome to the Web site of the Sveti Đurđ Volunteer Fire Department! Thank you for your interest and time while browsing throughout more than a century of our history (since 1897!), very lively present activities and hopefully a bright future!

We were the first VFD from southeastern Europe on the Web, with our own web page since May 1997, and right now you are surfing in the 4th version of our web home, made in order to introduce activities of almost 100 members of our organisation.

Only a small part of contents of this site are translated into English language (they are specially arranged on the page you are browsing through right now), but we are sure that you'll enjoy even on the pages in Croatian, as there are many interesting details, like a rich photo gallery, movies clips on certain pages etc.

Don't forget to send us your feedback with comments or collaboration suggestions!  
T h a n k   y o u! 

Department's Managing Board 


DOBROVOLJNO VATROGASNO DRUSTVO SVETI ĐURĐ (American English: Sveti Djurdj Volunteer Fire Department; British English: Voluntary Fire Brigade) is an all-volunteer, humanitarian and non-political society of volunteer firefighters of special interest for the Republic of Croatia in the field of fire protection. Department's members are persons who work in order to improve fire service and fire protection, as well as other persons performing activities which patronize a fire service.

(First lines of the Department's Statutes)

Photo taken during a controlled burning activities in 2003 in Sveti Djurdj

Photo taken during a controlled burning activities in Sveti Đurđ in 2003 

More than one century of active and above all successful service of the volunteer fire department in Sveti Đurđ (synonym to St. George in English language), based on the principles of voluntary activities and self-organization of citizens in order to achieve humane ideas, as well as on the principles of mutual help in case of fire or other emergencies - we proudly emphasise all these as the main reasons for a presentation of our Department to all curious "Web surfers" around the world, and especially to our colleagues and friends in the fire service.

To speak with a wish to mention the most important things related to Sveti Đurđ, without mentioning the firefighters and their perfect inner organization, that would certanly be a mistake, because firefighters of Sveti  Đurđ have been participants of almost all social events in their region. Thanks to their reputation, and we could also say their popularity, fire department has always been one of the leading public organizations.

Members of the DVD Sveti Djurdj at the Department's 110yr celebration in 2007

Members of the DVD Sveti Đurđ at the Department's 110yr celebration in 2007

What can you find on this site?

Various informations across the site will give you a great insight into our rich history, as well as into inner structure of one among the oldest voluntary fire departments in northern Croatia. You will also find out how we respond to fire calls, organize traditional public manifestations and fire departments' competitions as well as some informations about our collaboration with foreign firefighting organisations.
Please feel free to contact us with your suggestions, critics, bug reports and other interesting ideas.

Collaborate with us!

Preloska 2, 42233 Sveti Đurđ, Republic of Croatia
Contact phones:
098/725-661 - Kristijan Kovačić, President
- Zoran Bahat, ing. - Commander
098/919-6932  - Kristijan Šantavec - Secretary
Home page:
Emergency phones :
193 - Dispatch Center (Varaždin Fire Department)
112 - Emergency Call Center - Varaždin

Special note to all visitors: Due to problems in interpretation of a few Croatian letters by certain Web browsers, original name of Sveti Đurđ has been transformed into Sveti Djurdj. Thanks for your understanding!


As tradition of organized fire service in northern Croatia is very strong and originates from 1860's, nearness of the cradle of modern Croatian fire service, town of Varazdin, had a positive influence on the development of the idea about the foundation of the volunteer fire department in the village of Sveti  Đurđ . 
Necessity for a quick and above all effective fire protection was even more distinct back in those times because of the annihilating experiences in the fight with fire which has mercilessly "swalowed" thatched roofs of the village households. Large families were often left without basic existential conditions.
Originator of the firefighters movement in Sveti  Đurđ 's municipality was Konrad Klingspoegel, teacher in the Sveti Đurđ's primary school. After gathering all people who shared same ideas from all villages, a foundations of volunteer fire departments were layed in all villages of our region. With support of a few citizens of Sveti  Đurđ (with Vinko Kovacic as one among the leaders) teacher Klingspoegel has founded the Sveti  Đurđ Volunteer Fire Department (Croatian: Dobrovoljno vatrogasno drustvo Sveti  Đurđ - DVD Sveti  Đurđ ) back in 1874, 10 years after the foundation of the First Croatian Volunteer Fire Dept. in Varazdin (Croatian: Prvi hrvatski dobrovoljni vatrogasni zbor u Varazdinu). 

Nevertheless, 10th of June 1897 has been officially treated as a date of foundation of our VFD, thanks to poor work of the department's members who were responsible for taking the minutes at that time. When the official register of all Croatian firefighting organizations has been created for a first time (after the World War 1), Sveti  Đurđ VFD didn't have any written proof of its long existence. Department's second fire engine (horse dragged and manually operated pump) was manufactured in 1897 (as a plate on it says so) and the officials took that date as a date of our foundation. That's why 23 years of our service are "gone with the wind" (there are some signs of possible correction of that false data because department's members have found some historic documents in various libraries and archives).

Veteran firefighters of the Sveti Djurdj VFD at the 110th anniversary of the Ludbreg VFD (in 1979)     Veteran firefighters of the Sveti Djurdj VFD at the  110th anniversary of the Ludbreg VFD (in 1979)
Veteran firefighters of the Sveti Đurđ VFD at the 
110th anniversary of the Ludbreg VFD (in 1979)

Economic state of our department in early years didn't allowe us to purchase any heavy equipment. There was no place for unreal expectations of some greater help from the superior institutions, so the only option left was to collect modest financial resources among Sveti  Đurđ 's citizens. After three years of firefighting with wooden buckets, department purchased its very first fire engine. That fire engine was one among early models (horse dragged). Water had to be poured into cylinder with buckets and it was pumped in fire hoses by 8-10 men who had powered the pump by pumping pretty fast with a 2 wooden sticks. In spite of its primitive construction it was a great help to Department's members.

By year 1879 Sveti Đurđ VFD had its first firehouse. The second firehouse was built in 1942 on the ground of the first one. On the eve of the official 100th anniversary of department's foundation in 1997 that firehouse was a bit renewed by voluntary work of department's members.
First uniforms, as well as the trumphet, commander's sabre and a few other items were bought in 1910. That year is also very special in department's history because of some decisions made on the annual general meeting. According to those decisions fire department had to take greater role in Sveti  Đurđ 's public and cultural life by organization of various events.

A period between the two world wars was very tough for civil organisations, including voluntary fire departments, and the same has happened in Sveti  Đurđ. Many members had to go to the battle fields, and some of them stayed in a village in order to guard the firehouse. The only Department's member killed in a firefighting uniform was Stjepan Kovac, victom of bombing during the last days of the WW2. Our Department had to change its name to Sveti Gjurgj in those years. 

Modernization of department started in 1962 when first portable motorized fire pump ("Savica" type) was purchased. Due to Sveti  Đurđ 's development and greater needs of the Sveti Đurđ VFD second portable fire pump was bought in 1974 ("Magirus"). Department uses this pump in present time for education of new members as well as for training of department's competition team.

Year 1970 is especially significant for Sveti Đurđ and its surroundings because of filming of famous humoristic series "Mejasi" (eng. Neighbours) by the national television company. Seventh epizode was named "Firefighters" and it presented life of a voluntary fire brigade in a small village back at those times - in a very funny way.
You can find Youtube links on parts of that episode below:

Department's first flag was officialy delivered in 1979, with a festive ceremony organized for many departments.

Official flag delivery ceremony in 1979     Official flag delivery ceremony in 1979

Official flag delivery ceremony in 1979

The first motorized vehicle was purchased in 1977. It was a van ("IMV") used for transport of personnel and smaller equipment (including portable fire pump already mentioned above). 80's of the 20th century are also important as a greater number of new members finished their training for certain ranks in voluntary fire service. Therefore department's readiness in case of emergency had significantly increased. Various smaller parts of firefighting equipment, including fire hoses, were bought during that period.

In a period between World War II and year 1993 DVD Sveti  Đurđ have been member of the Ludbreg Fire Services Association (cro. Vatrogasni savez opcine Ludbreg) along with 32 other volunteer fire departments from the Ludbreg area.
In 1993 DVD Sveti  Đurđ has been named as a central firefighting respond unit for a newly founded Sveti  Đurđ Municipality. Due to new commitments and duties the first "first strike" fire engine was bought one year later - a second-hand Magirus fire engine bought in Germany. In spite of its age (made in 1965), department used it successfully till 1999 when much better "Dennis" fire engine came from Great Britain.

Magirus fire engine built in 1965 (purchased in 1994)
Magirus fire engine built in 1965 (purchased in 1994)

TV report (made by a national television company) about the official Magirus fire engine delivery ceremony in 1994

On 20th of July 1997 Department had celebrated official 100th anniversary of Department's foundation. Around 250 firefighters came from northern Croatia in Sveti Djurdj on that day. After a solemn march of Department's representatives (with flags) followed by brass orchestra in early morning, there was a special mass held in St. George's church in Sveti  Đurđ for all members of the Sveti  Đurđ VFD, past and present ones.
Firefighter's arrivals finished at 10 am when official ceremony begun.

Details from a great happening

A programme on stage included: greeting speeches of the Department's president Josip Bahat and commander Franjo Orlovic, as well as speeches of all honorable guests. There were also: review of Department's long history by secretary Stjepan Kovacek, official hand over of a new Department's flag, solemn distribution of medals to the meritorious members of the VFD, etc. 
Official lunch was an opportunity to take a small break, as for our guests as well as for a members of domestic VFD. All guests were really atracted by second part of a programme in the afternoon, as members of Biskupec VFD (official Croatian champions in firefighters' competition drill in 1996) presented their skills in their super fast drills.
The most unforgettable part of that programme was a great performance of the Sveti  Đurđ VFD's veterans as they performed an excellent drill with the oldest fire engine in our firehouse, the one from 1897 (it still works "as a new one").

A moment to remember: Veteran firefighters of the Sveti Đurđ Volunteer Fire Dept. at the 100th anniversary in 1997 (the oldest fire pump, or "squirt", from year 1897 is behind them)

The last part of programme was organized by Department's emergency squads. A fire simulation included fire attack with 10 hose lines with water and foam, using 3 separate pumps from various water sources. 
The unofficial part of programme with a great music band lasted till late night hours.


Sveti  Đurđ VFD took part in the history of Croatian fire service as the first dept. from this part of Europe presented in one among the leading fire magazines in America, the "National Fire & Rescue". They published a story from Stjepan Kovacek, department's general secretary (named "Survival is still the greatest challenge") in their April 1997 edition. 
Fire service in the Republic of Croatia as well as firefighters from Sveti  Đurđ were presented to thousands of readers by that article (special thanks goes to Ms. Pat C. West, managing editor of the NF&R). 
By the end of same year, Kovacek's story was also published in the "Journal of the British Fire Services Association" (special thanks to Mr. Gary Slegg FIMgt, Vice Chairman B.F.S.A., South Eastern District).

You can read an article below.



As early as on 5th of May in 1997 DVD Sveti Đurđ promoted its own very first web page, becoming the first voluntary fire department in southeast Europe with its own "online firehouse" (the only fire department with its own web page till that moment was austrian professional Salzburg Fire Department). Author of those pages was Stjepan Kovaček, Department's secretary at that time.
Croatian Fire Services Association gave the first prize to our Department back in 1999 declaring that we have the best web site among all other voluntary fire departments in Croatia.

An official promotion of "Vatrogasni glasnik" (eng. Firefighters' News), department's yearly newsletter, took place during a celebration of a Day of Croatian Fire Service and st. Florian's Day in 1998.
It has been created because of a wish of department's members as they wanted to deliver a small but nice gift to all homes in Sveti  Đurđ as a symbol of gratitude for a support given during department's long and rich history. Department's history review, Internet home page presentation, fire service competitions results, guest's columns, legend about St. Florian, fire safety tips and similar themes took place in the very first edition of our magazine. 
The second edition of Vatrogasni glasnik was published in 1999 and was delivered to all homes in Sveti Djurdj Municipality along with the fire departments' calendars (this action is also a traditional in our area).

       Department's leaflet from December 2010 (400 KB)

Department's secretary's role of the official translator and guide for a delegation of the British Fire Services Association in the International Fire Services Youth Camp in Novi Vinodolski (at the Adriatic Coast) in 1997 became one among the crucial events in the Department's history.
Based on the friendship founded between Croatian and British firefighters in that camp a great visit happened in 1998. Mr. Gary Slegg, chairman of the humanitarian fire services charity "Operation Florian" (Southern region)(also a vice chairman of the British Fire Services Association - SE Region), as one among leaders of a British delegation already mentioned above, has visited the Sveti  Đurđ VFD as well as many fire departments in northern Croatia in June 1998. 
During his visit Mr. Slegg has donated a great quantity of firefighting equipment (firefighting apparel) to Sveti  Đurđ VFD on behalf of Operation Florian. On Sunday, 21st of June, a solemn manifestation was organized with a few separate programs: an official donation delivery, meeting with the municipality's mayor, fire departments' competition, etc.

A great award given to members of Sveti  Đurđ VFD has to be especially emphasised. Dobrovoljno vatrogasno društvo Sveti  Đurđ has been officialy proclaimed during that happening as an associate member of the British Fire Services Association (as one among rare departments outside the British territory with such honour).

A new visit of british fire service delegation happened in spring 1999 as a prolongation of successfull collaboration started in 1997. British humanitarian fire service charity Operation Florian, a donator of more than 20 fire engines and other fire equipment to fire departments worldwide, prepaired a "package" made up of 6 fire engines to Republic of Croatia during that year. 
Main delivery happening for that year, named "Operation Florian - Sveti Djurdj '99", was organized on 23rd of April 1999 in Sveti  Đurđ during a celebration of a Day of Sveti  Đurđ Munipality and St. George's Day.
A great number of highly respected people came there to be a part of programme where an official delivery of the Dennis RS 133 fire engine to DVD Sveti  Đurđ has been the most important moment. Famous officials from politics, fire service and culture attending the ceremony included: dr. Franjo Greguric (Parliament delegate and president of the Croatian Fire Services Association), dr. Marijan Mlinaric (mayor of the Varazdin County and president of the Varazdin County Fire Services Association), mr. Franjo Krizanic (Parliament delegate and mayor of Ludbreg), mr. Bozidar Pugelnik (Minister of education and sport), dr. Stjepan Turek (Deputy Minister of Health and Social Care), Steve Owen-Hughes (president of the "Operation Florian" charity), Mick Doherty (chairman of the "Operation Florian" charity), Gary Slegg (president of the "Operation Florian" charity - Southern region and president of the British Fire Services Association - SE region) as well as many other officials. 
Very important roles in whole event were also taken by: Sveti  Đurđ Municipality officials headed by mayor Josip Blazotinec, Sveti  Đurđ Primary School officials headed by its principal Josip Blazotinec, members of the Women Association of Sveti  Đurđ, attractive musicians of the "Juraj Loncaric" Culture and Art Society from Hrzenica, members of volunteer fire departments from the Sveti  Đurđ Municipality, etc.

Upoznavanje s novom opremom iz Velike Britanije   Detalji s manifestacije "Operation Florian 1999 Sveti Đurđ" 
Details of the "Operation Florian 1999 Sveti Đurđ" event

8-day training for members of Department's firefighting squads, led by six British experienced and qualitive instructors, was taken by about 30 voluntary firefighters. New skills and knowledge about equipment donated to DVD were received, and special training was made with a new Dennis fire engine, its fire pump, breathing apparatus, etc.

We invite you to watch a special TV report made during this event (Youtube, 4 parts):

Operation Florian Sveti Đurđ 1999 - Part 2

Operation Florian Sveti Đurđ 1999 - Part 3

Operation Florian Sveti Đurđ 1999 - Part 4


Year 2007 has been very special for fire service in sveti Đurđ Municipality. Beside other traditional fire service events organized during that year, our main event was a celebration of our Department's  high anniversary - 110 years of service. Dobrovoljno vatrogasno društvo Sveti Đurđ festively organized this event on 24th of June 2007, with a Sveti Đurđ Municipality Council a patron of whole programme.

A celebration started with a traditional march of Department's members through the streets of Sveti Đurđ, escorted by a local brass orchestra. All members attended a holy mass after that march, as it was denoted to Department's members from the past.

Programme organized during afternoon was attended by more than 200 firefighters from around 20 voluntary fire departments, as they all gathered on a well decorated site in front of the village hall. Among many highly respected guests we have to mention Lord Gary Slegg, Department' only honorary member from Great Britain, Željko Popović, commander of the Croatian Fire Services Association, Zoran Hap, representative of the Varaždin County Protection and Rescue Directorate, Ivica Labaš, fire commmander of the Varaždin County, Josip Jany, mayor of the Sveti Đurđ Municipality, Zlatko Sinković, president of the Sveti Đurđ Municipality Council and Nenad Radojčić, director of the Vatropromet company.      

Beside the introduction with Department's history, readen by Department's president Stjepan Kovaček, as well as speeches given by our guests, central part of that programme was reserved for solemn delivery of medals and certificates to some of Department's diligent members.
Medal for special achievements was given to Josip Bahat, Department's ex-president during almost 20 years. Gold Medals were given to Dragutin Kovačić, Franjo Orlović and Đuro Turek.
Commander of the Croatian Fire Services Association Željko Popović also awarded medals for long service to Mirko Kuharić, Ivan Bahat, Stjepan Zlatar (60 years) as well as to Franjo Bahat, Stjepan Tkalec and Tomo Orlović (50 years).

Fire commmander of the Varaždin County Ivica Labaš gave silver medals to Kruno Meštrović, Stjepan Kovaček, Josip Kovačić, Zlatko Tkalec, Dragutin Bahat, Miroslav Bahat, Stjepan Markovčić, Ivan Kuharić and Dragutin Mikulić. Medals for 40 years of service were given to Franjo Orlović, Dragutin Kovačić, Franjo Kovaček and Antun Glavak, while medals for 30 years of service were give to Josip Bahat, Josip Kovaček, Zlatko Tkalec, Đuro Turek, Ivan Kuharić, Dragutin Bahat, Zvonko Stančin, Stjepan Stančin, Kruno Meštrović, Josip Kovačić, Stjepan Markovčić, Dragutin Mikulić and Josip Kuharić.
It's important to say as well that a rank of "honorary fire service officer" was officially given to Zvonko Stančin, one of the most active firefighters of our Department in a previous decade.

President of the Sveti Đurđ Fire Services Association Kruno Meštrović gave bronze medals to Zoran Bahat, Vilim Borko, Danijel Kovaček, Kristijan Kovačić, Zoran Požgaj, Dražen Čurila, Siniša Kovačić, Dragan Mikulić, Saša Maljak, Dejan Orlović, Jurica Orlović, Goran Tišljar and Miroslav Horvat. Medals for 20 years of service were given to Miroslav Bahat, Vladimir Kovaček and Vladimir Horvat, while Goran Tišljar received a medal for 10 years of service.

A festive march of all firefighters, headed by Department's commander Zoran Bahat, was organized at the end of the official programme of celebration.

As an introduction to more relaxed part of programme, members of the amateur drama group of the "Croatian Heart" Women Society from Sveti Đurđ performed a play named "A firefighter - each gets a half". They presented many aspects of a life of firefighter in a very funny way.

As an  unavoidable part of such celebrations, a banquet was organized later in the afternoon, not only for all firefighters present, but for all citizens of Sveti Đurđ as well. Many of them stayed in Sveti Đurđ in a good atmosphere till next morning.

You can see a few photographs here, taken during a celebration of Department's 110th birthday, while much more photos are in a Gallery section of this website:  

Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva Detalj s proslave 110. obljetnice osnutka Društva


Along with volunteer fire departments of Hrženica, Komarnica Ludbreška, Karlovec Ludbreški, Sesvete Ludbreške and Struga, Sveti Đurđ VFD is a member of the Sveti Đurđ Municipality Fire Services Association, a fire service organization (founded in 1993) which promotes interests of all volunteer firefighters on a territory of the Sveti Đurđ Municipality.
You can learn some more about Sveti Đurđ Municipality after watching a short video report made in 2005:

Sveti Đurđ Municipality is one among five fire services associations founded on the territory of former Ludbreg Fire Services Association (existed from 1933 till 1993). Beside the Sveti Đurđ Municipality FSA, FSA's have been newly founded in Town of Ludbreg, Martijanec Munipality, Mali Bukovec Municipality and Veliki Bukovec Municipality.
Sveti Đurđ Municipality FSA is one among 28 FSAs founded for a territory of towns or municipalities, and they all form the Varaždin County Fire Services Association. There is 1 full-time territorial fire department, 1 industrial full-time fire department and 131 voluntary fire department on the territory of Varaždin County (including 6 voluntary fire departments of the Sveti Đurđ Municipality Fire Services Association). 
All Croatian fire departments are members of the Croatian Fire Services Association, national fire services association, through their associations on higher levels. Varazdin County FSA is one among 21 county associations which form the Croatian Fire Services Association.
Department's operative unit became a unit of a special interest for the Sveti Đurđ Municipality in 1993, with bigger responsibility of all active members and Department's officials. Such status of our Department has been confirmed by the Evaluation of fire hazards and Plan of fire protection in Sveti Đurđ Municipality (introduced in 2003).


Department's membership is divided into few categories, based on the official Statutes. Here is statistics from year 2012:
Membership category
Number of members
Operative firefighters
Executive members 8
Reserve firefighters 5
Supporting members 21
Veteran firefighters 3
Honorary members
Youngsters (age 6-17) 20

Rank structure:

The first official education for fire service ranks ranks of Department's members began after the World War 2, while first higher ranks were received in 1980's.
An education became a normal routine afterwards and there are a several members with highest fire service ranks in our department today.
All operative members have at least a "firefighter" rank, and they have to go through a special medical exam every two years.
Number of members
Higher Fire Officer of 1st class
Fire Officer of 1st class 4
Fire Subofficer of 1st class 9
Fire Subofficer 2
Firefighter of 1st class
Firefighter 6
Fire Service Youth 5
Honorary Fire Officer 1

Other education programmes:
The first 2 fire service competition referees have been trained in our department in 1999: Stjepan Kovaček and Miroslav Bahat. They took part at many competitions during that year across northern Croatia.
Departments commander Stjepan Kovaček took part at the CTIF's international fire service competitions as a member of Croatian national team (Kuopio 2001 - Finland, Kapfenberg 2003 - Austria, Ostrava 2009 - Czech Republic 2009, Kočevje 2011 - Slovenia, Mullhouse 2013 - France), while he had s position of deputy project leader of the CTIF's Fire Service Olympics in Varaždin - Croatia.

Members of the DVD Sveti Djurdj at the Department's 110yr celebration in 2007 
Part of Department's members at the 110 years of service celebration (24th of June 2004)

  Gary Slegg (Great Britain), Department's only honorary member
Managing bodies based on the Department's Statutes are: 
* General Assembly - the highest body (all members)
* Managing Board - 7 members 
* Commanders Board - 5-7 members
* Supervisory Board - 3-5 members
DEPARTMENTS' LEADERSHIP (elected for a period from year 2013 - 2017)
Name and surname
Kristijan Kovačić
Zoran Bahat, ing.
Kristijan Kovačić
Vice president
Ervin Radiković
Vice commander Miroslav Bahat
Zoran Bahat, ing.
Equipment keepers
Zvonko Stančin, Tomislav Kovačić
Fire brigade youth leader Antonio Kovaček
President of the Supervising Board
Mario Kovaček
Department's members at higher level positions:
Name and surname
Stjepan Kovaček Fire Commander of the Varaždin County Fire Services Association (profesionally - full time)
Commander of the Sveti Đurđ Municipality Fire Services Association
Member of the Informatization Board of the Croatian Fire Brigades Association
Member of the Commanders Board of the Croatian Fire Brigades Association

Other parts of our website will be translated and put on this page very soon! Thanks for your patience and understanding!

Enjoy surfing!