FIRE AID coordinates fire services across the UK to donate thousands of items of kit and equipment to Ukraine, to support firefighters on the frontline.
UK charity, FIRE AID and International Development (FIRE AID), and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) are coordinating donations of more than 5,000 items of fire and rescue equipment and PPE which will be sent in convoy to Ukraine.
Eighteen fire engines, thermal imaging cameras for finding victims, generators, lighting, hoses, rescue equipment, and thousands of sets of PPE are among the items being donated. Every fire service across the UK has stepped in to support these efforts.
The deployment of these donations is being supported by funding from the Home Office, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and the FIA Foundation, as well as through a public appeal via JustGiving – https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/KeepUkraineFireFightersSafe.
Following a successful scoping visit to Poland conducted by FIRE AID volunteers this week, an initial convoy of four fire engines and a lorry of PPE and rescue equipment will depart the UK on Friday 11th March, led by the Scottish Emergency Rescue Association (SERA).
FIRE AID is then coordinating a subsequent convoy consisting of 15 fire engines and two lorries of equipment, donated by fire services across the UK, which will depart on 19th March. 40 UK firefighters will join FIRE AID volunteers as part of the team driving the vehicles across Europe, where it will be received by the Polish State Fire Service and transferred to Ukraine.
When it reaches Ukraine, the equipment will be used to support firefighters, emergency services and volunteers who are battling together on the front line, often using old or worn equipment. They are dealing daily with fires and other emergencies to protect lives, people and property as the invasion devastates the country.
The wider fire sector – including MSA Safety, Fire Sector Federation (FSF), the Fire and Rescue Suppliers [FIRESA] Council and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) – are also key partners in supporting and making the deployment.
Claire Hoyland, Project Manager, FIRE AID commented: “FIRE AID and its members have over 25 years of experience responding to requests for aid and support for emergency services in over 50 countries. Following the invasion of Ukraine, our members immediately mobilised to gather equipment and aid to donate to their Ukrainian counterparts. FIRE AID members have been working in partnership with the Ukrainian emergency services since 2012 and we are proud to be coordinating this unprecedented emergency response on behalf of the UK Fire Sector.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The British Government and British people are standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and its citizens during this barbaric invasion. I have been speaking regularly to my counterpart at Ukraine’s Interior Ministry and the Ukrainian Ambassador in London to understand what practical help we can offer.
“We are helping to ensure that crucial fire and rescue equipment and PPE donated by Fire and Rescue Services will get to where it can directly provide succour to those brave firefighters, emergency services and volunteers on the front line in Ukraine.”
The donated equipment covers a wide-range of kit, which is either due to be replaced or fire services have the capacity to donate it. It will all be provided in good, working order and all vehicles will be serviced and checked before the convoy sets off. Each vehicle will be packed with essential – and lifesaving – equipment.
Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said: “The FIA Foundation is proud to support FIRE AID’s convoy to deliver fire safety equipment to Ukraine’s frontline, in a collaborative mission by UK fire services, NGOs and Government to assist the people of Ukraine. Our foundation has longstanding links with Ukrainian road safety NGOs and with the life-saving work of FIRE AID. Through this humanitarian aid we express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their lives and their freedom.”
This is not the first time the UK has supported Ukraine; in 2012 FIRE AID founding member, UK charity, the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST), and Kent Fire and Rescue Service, with the support of the UK Embassy in Kyiv, donated two fully equipped fire appliances along with much-needed fire suits, equipment, and training to the town of Korosten near Chernobyl in Ukraine. The initial donations to Korosten have been supplemented and replenished over the years with additional deliveries and renewed training. The initial collaboration in 2012 was the catalyst for the development FIRE AID.
Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council Mark Hardingham said: “As the terrible scenes unfold in Ukraine, the UK fire and rescue service is once again doing all it can to support those who urgently need help. The response has been incredible and it is testament to the public, private and voluntary sectors combining resources, enthusiasm and skills in response to the crisis. Thousands of items of kit and equipment – along with fire engines – have been donated to help the Ukrainian emergency services, battling together on the front line, as they strive to save lives and protect people and property.
“I cannot express how proud I am of everyone who has come together to support this; from getting the equipment together, the hard work which has gone into ensuring the logistics of one of the largest convoys we have seen, to volunteering to be part of the journey itself. This is our sector at its very best – selflessly working together and supporting one other – ultimately helping and hoping to save lives.”