Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service is preparing to send two fire appliances and an Incident Response Unit to help firefighters in Ukraine.
The two fire appliances will be driven to Poland by the service’s own firefighters, who will travel to Kent on 18 March where they will be briefed ahead of their journey through France and Germany before arriving in Poland. The Incident Response Unit will be deployed the following week.
Area Manager Rob Clow, who has organised the service’s support to Ukraine, said, “The Northumberland County Council Fire Authority has recently invested in new fire appliances for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, which resulted in two older appliances being available for donation to fire and rescue service-related charities.
“The timing of this has coincided with an appeal from the National Fire Chiefs’ Council asking for fire appliances to be donated to the Ukrainian Fire Service. It was quickly agreed that we would donate the vehicles, and work started to get them ready for the journey to Poland, where they will be handed over to authorities who will arrange the onward deployment into Ukraine.
“This project has been supported by local businesses and I would like to particularly thank Halfords for donating equipment that will make the journey more comfortable for our staff.”
The appliances will leave service headquarters early on the morning of 18 March to drive to Kent, before joining a convoy of over 20 other fire vehicles.
Fire stations around Northumberland were also used as donation drop-off points, which saw a massive response from members of the public. Staff from the service are currently sorting through the donations at the Seaton Delaval despatch centre.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley said, “The level of commitment from our staff to support this project is truly remarkable and a real indicator of the level of support the people of Ukraine have from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service. The task will be arduous, but I have every confidence that the staff selected will do a great job in representing Northumberland.”
The service has also donated fire fighting kit, including tunics, leggings, boots and wellies.
Fire Authority Chair Councillor Colin Horncastle said, “These supplies are urgently needed by Ukrainian firefighters who are on the frontline using old equipment to tackle fires and other emergencies. It’s important for all of us at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Northumberland County Council to do all we can help support the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.”