Two firefighting helicopters and a total of 18 crew members arrived in Cyprus from Jordan with the aim of boosting Cyprus’ firefighting capabilities ahead of the summer, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

The crews were welcomed on Monday at the Andreas Papandreou air base in Paphos by Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou, who explained that the aircraft and crew will remain in Cyprus at least until aircraft leased by the Cypriot government arrive on the island.

She added that the crews will be “operationally ready” within 24 hours. In addition, there will always be at least one crew on standby 24 hours a day, with an island-wide response time of 30 minutes.

She went on to say that fire prevention in Cyprus is a “matter of national security”, and that for this reason the government aims to eventually purchase a total of ten aircraft to transfer to the National Guard to fight fires.

In addition, she said, ground-level firefighting crews across the island have been at full operational readiness since April 1.