By Leah Conway –
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has joined other UK fire services in donating items of kit and equipment to Ukraine’s firefighters on the frontline.
The donation drive has been coordinated by UK charity FIRE AID and International Development and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).
Together they have coordinated donations of more than 5,000 items of fire and rescue equipment and PPE to be sent to Ukraine.
So far, the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has sent:
- 12 pallets of fire kit
- 12 pallets of hoses
- An assortment of ladders later.
“A particular bond and affinity”
Dave Teggart, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Operations Manager, said “Our staff and particularly our support teams have worked incredibly hard to pull these donations together.
“Over the last two weeks, staff at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been following the Ukraine situation and thinking about the people of Ukraine, and other parts of the world affected by war and conflict.
“We feel a particular bond and affinity with our fellow firefighters who are doing an already dangerous job in the most extraordinary of circumstances – and send good wishes for their safety. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them in spirit if not in body. Peace and safety is what we all wish for. Until that is achieved, we will continue to hold them in our thoughts, and support them where we can.”
The first convoy
Before the convoy was sent on its way, a group of FIRE AID volunteers has a successful scoping visit to Poland. On Friday 11 March, an initial convoy of three fire engines and a lorry of PPE and rescue equipment departed. They were led by the Scottish Emergency Rescue Association (SERA).
A subsequent convoy of 40 firefighters, FIRE AID volunteers, 15 fire engines and two lorries of equipment will depart on 19 March.
The Polish State Fire Service will receive the convoy’s donations and transfer them to Ukraine. The drive for donations has been supported by funding from the Home Office, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and the FIA Foundation, as well as through a public Just Giving campaign.
Other organisations such as MSA Safety, Fire Sector Federation (FSF), the Fire and Rescue Suppliers (FIRESA) Council and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) have also been fundamental in supporting the donation 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.”
An incredible response
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 sectors combining resources, enthusiasm and skills in response to the crisis.
“Thousands of items 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. This is our sector at its very best – selflessly working together and supporting one other – ultimately helping and hoping to save lives.”