ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities say they are introducing a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for members of the fire department’s special rescue service.

The country’s fire chief, Lt. Gen. Stefanos Kolokouris, signed an order Tuesday stating that members of the rescue service must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or transferred to another department within the Fire Service.

The order is the first time COVID-19 vaccines were made mandatory for anyone in Greece. The Greek government says it’s considering a mandatory vaccination policy for the public health service and other state-run agencies.

Fire Service employee associations said Wednesday that vaccinations should be strongly encouraged but remain voluntary.

Greek rescuers are part of a European Union cross-border civil protection service responding to emergencies and natural disasters.