FIA Foundation writes blog about FIRE AID’s work in Tiraspol
Two hundred road crashes in the city of Tiraspol, Transnistria, have been attended with specialist rescue equipment thanks to FIA Foundation partner FIRE AID’s work in the region since 2017.
Across Transnistria there were no modern vehicles in operation – all dated back to the 1970s and 1980s – and no hydraulic rescue equipment to extricate casualties from vehicle crashes and other emergency situations. The personal protective equipment (PPE) and breathing apparatus used by the crews was poor and didn’t provide protection from the dangers of responding to fires, road traffic collisions and other high-risk incidents.
Antiquated vehicles, inadequate breathing apparatus and PPE, and a lack of rescue equipment put the crews, and the public they serve, at risk. Over the past year, FIRE AID, supported by its members EASST and Operation Florian, has delivered four modern fire appliances, PPE and enough breathing apparatus to equip the entire fire service in the region.
In June 2018, FIRE AID welcomed eight firefighters from Tiraspol, and Chisnau, Moldova, to the UK for a 10-day study trip hosted by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. The delegates were welcomed by UK firefighters from West Sussex, Kent, Surrey and East Sussex who have volunteered with FIRE AID support both fire services through training and delivering appliances. The visit was an opportunity to provide further training and demonstrate how a UK Fire and Rescue Service training centre operates so delegates could develop and implement elements into their own services.
FIRE AID has provided equipment and trainings on post-crash care in Eastern Europe and the Caucuses since 2013. Its model is increasingly recognized as an effective way to transfer equipment and expertise from the UK to countries with serious road traffic injury problems and limited resources. The projects enables members to deliver humanitarian aid to emergency services, as well as share expertise, best practice, funding and equipment.
There is a limited capacity to respond to road traffic collisions in many countries, with limited or inadequate equipment and training in many low and middle income countries. Donated equipment from the UK, and training from specialist volunteers has enabled FIRE AID to support a wide range of activities including: road crash response; firefighting; disaster preparedness; water rescue; trauma care; community safety; and fire safety in refugee camps. FIRE AID currently has 28 members, including the FIA Foundation, and has worked in over 40 countries.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Chief Dawn Whittaker, the main donor of equipment for this project, said: “It’s sometimes easy to take for granted the standard of equipment, PPE and training we have in the UK, but talking to our visitors today, they have challenges that are difficult to comprehend, but their dedication and professionalism shines through.”
One of the delegate firefighters, who received the training, said: “The road traffic equipment is very useful to us. We have never had this before, and the training provided meant we were able to learn how to use the equipment too. This road traffic collision equipment will allow us to save more lives where we previously wouldn’t have been able to.”