Fire and rescue services across the UK are donating thousands of items of kit and equipment to be sent 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 5000 items of fire and rescue equipment and PPE, which are now on their way 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 and rescue 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.
Following a successful scoping visit to Poland conducted by FIRE AID volunteers, an initial convoy of three fire engines and a lorry of PPE and rescue equipment departed the UK on 11 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 and rescue services across the UK, which will depart on 19 March. Forty 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.
Claire Hoyland, Project Manager, FIRE AID, said, “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.”
Ian Moore, Chief Executive, Fire Industry Association, said, “The whole of the fire industry has come together to support the UK deployment of aid through FIRE AID, our charity partner. It has been both an honour and humbling experience to be part of a truly collaborative humanitarian response from the UK.
“We are incredibly proud of our sector for their determined and unified effort to help the firefighters of Ukraine. Our members have donated time, money and equipment to supporting the UK fire sector humanitarian response, but most of all they have stood shoulder to shoulder, working alongside all of the great organisations, as a team with a clear objective: to help the firefighters of Ukraine. We are all united in our desire to do this.”
Mark Hardingham, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, 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.”
The wider fire sector – including the 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.