West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has contributed hundreds of items to the latest convoy, which leaves the UK today (MAY 3RD).
Among the items are 120 fire helmets and over 300 items of structural fire kit, which includes firefighting clothing, to offer as much protection as possible to firefighters in Ukraine.
Station manager Damian Cameron from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Vital equipment has been donated by fire and rescue services across the country for this convoy, which will be arriving in Poland in the next few days. The appliances and equipment will then be handed over to Ukrainian authorities and directly help support our firefighting brothers and sisters over there.
“To date fire and rescue services have now donated an incredible 86 fire engines and more than 100,000 items of kit. These are all needed in Ukraine as the war continues to devastate Ukraine and we hear how a number of firefighters have sadly lost their lives, and equipment has been destroyed.”
In the past WYFRS has donated fire kit, boots, USAR PPE, hoses and inflatable boats to Ukraine aid missions.
This week’s humanitarian aid convoy has been organised by the National Fire Chiefs Council, FIRE AID and International Development (FIRE AID), with support from the wider sector and the Home Office. Items have also been donated by police forces coordinated through the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC).
Coordinated by NFCC’s National Resilience function, the convoy is made up of 25 vehicles, packed with more than 8,000 items of life saving kit and equipment. The convoy leaves the UK ahead of International Firefighters’ Day, which is observed each year on May 4 and recognises and honours the sacrifices firefighters make.
This year the first part of the convoy saw fire and rescue services from the northwest meet in Merseyside to undertake the first leg of the journey and to commemorate the link between Ukraine and this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Liverpool is hosting the contest on behalf of Ukraine next month, who won the competition in 2022. Events are being held across the city to honour people from Ukraine.
Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council Mark Hardingham said: “I am incredibly proud to see how fire and rescue services have once again not only donated essential kit to Ukraine but have worked tirelessly to pull it together so quickly. We have also seen an incredible number of staff volunteer to drive the convoy across Europe.
“The determination and pride of all involved is testament to how committed everyone is to help our colleagues in Ukraine who continue to see war devastate their country, while putting their own lives on the line with often limited resources.
“We couldn’t make these convoys happen without the incredible hard work of everyone involved; once again a phenomenal effort to get help to where it is needed most.”
Claire Hoyland, Project Manager, FIRE AID commented: “We know how much firefighting equipment is being lost in Ukraine each and every day, so to be able to organise a convoy in such a short time to give vital assistance will make a difference.
“We are in constant contact with our Ukrainian partners and the State Emergency Services and we know these donations will make a big difference to firefighters on the frontline. I would like to thank all our partners and colleagues for their absolute commitment to making this happen.”
Ian Moore, Chief Executive, Fire Industry Association: “The whole of the fire industry has worked together to make this a reality in conjunction with FIRE AID and our other partners. Once again, a truly collaborative effort to ensure we can give help when and where it is needed. This humanitarian aid shows what we can achieve and will make a difference to both firefighters on the front line and people living in Ukraine, under the most difficult of conditions.”
Firefighters and support staff at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) will be pausing to observe International Firefighters Day on Thursday (May 4th).
A minute’s silence will be observed at midday to recognise and honour the sacrifices that firefighters make to ensure that their communities are as safe as possible.
The day, which is observed by fire and rescue services across the globe is also an opportunity to thank current and past firefighters for their contributions.
At WYFRS headquarters in Birkenshaw staff will gather around the flag pole to mark the event, while some fire stations are also observing the silence.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said, “International Firefighters Day is one where we can thank our current firefighters for the hard work and sacrifices, they make every day, and remember those we have lost in the line of duty. It’s poignant knowing that services around the world will be joining with us to pause and reflect, which helps us feel part of a global firefighting family.”
For more information about the event you can visit the IFF day website.