Ukraine receives life-saving post-crash rescue equipment from FIRE AID

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Ukrainian crews were trained to use the new RTC equipment.
Ukrainian crews were trained to use the new RTC equipment.
The convoy waiting at the Ukranian border.
The convoy waiting at the Ukranian border.

A convoy of three fire engines to Ukraine from the UK delivered life-saving fire service equipment, including road traffic collision (RTC) equipment, thanks to the work of charity FIRE AID.

FIRE AID’s core work is supported by the FIA Foundation, and the convoy was organised with the support of the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) and in collaboration with FedEx Express Europe, with the aim to reduce the 4,000 fatalities on the country’s roads each year by providing training and modern equipment to fire services.

A convoy of three fire vehicles, filled with equipment donated by several UK fire services, were driven 1,400 miles across Europe by Kent Fire and Rescue Service volunteers, to reach Ukraine in August this year.

The convoy first reached the city of Korosten, in the northern Zhytomyr region, where two vehicles were donated. The Department of Fire and Rescue Service were delighted to receive the donated equipment, which included personal protective equipment and road traffic collision sets. Although redundant to UK fire and rescue services, such equipment is still perfectly useable and of value in Ukraine, where current equipment is often old, outdated or absent entirely.

The team of UK fire-fighters spent a day dedicated to training local services to use the equipment, with special focus on the 12 RTC sets which enable victims to be safely extracted from crash sites. The sets will be shared across eight fire stations in the Zhytomyr region, which has several major roads passing through it.

Andrey Grishchenko, Korosten Fire Station Manager, said: “The techniques shown are new to us but will undoubtedly be very useful. Just last week we attended an incident where a bus driver was trapped in his cab. Using this technique and having the benefit of this new equipment, we would likely have been able to save the driver’s life.”

The region’s fire chief, Colonel Butrimovych Mykhailo, has already suggested that this training be replicated across the Zhytomyr region.

The team drove the final vehicle on to the capital, Kyiv, where they delivered training to a further fire-fighting crew for the remaining donated equipment.

Danny Ayles, one of the fire-fighters from Kent Fire and Rescue taking part in the convoy, described his experience: “I was humbled with regards to how lucky we are in the UK to have such modern equipment and regular training compared to countries like Ukraine. I had goosebumps knowing we had been able to deliver something so valuable by participating in this project.”

Claire Hoyland, Project Manager, EASST said: “We hope this is the beginning of a wider project to improve the capacity of fire services to respond to road traffic collisions across more regions of Ukraine. The support is clearly needed and the local fire services were so enthusiastic and grateful for the donations and training we have been able to provide through this collaboration.”