HWFRS team drive fire engine to Poland to support Ukraine firefighters
Following a request from the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), all UK Fire Services were asked to donate any equipment and vehicles that were due to be replaced, decommissioned or disposed of to Ukraine’s Firefighters.
As a result of this, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) have donated a fire engine that has recently been removed from the fleet at end of life, and several tonnes of spare or end of life equipment to help firefighters in Ukraine deal with the impacts of the Russian invasion of their country.
The equipment was loaded on pallets and sent ahead earlier last week and the fire engine left the HWFRS early on Friday morning en-route to Kent with 21 other vehicles donated by UK Fire Services, before continuing onwards to Poland through France and Germany as part of a convoy of 22 vehicles, including donated fire service vehicles, also laden with equipment, from across the UK.
The appliance is being drive by Mark Andrews, Watch Commander at Whitchurch Fire Station.
Area Commander Ade Elliott, the Service’s Assistant Director Assets who has helped put together the HWFRS relief support to Ukraine said: “The Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority continually invests in new fire engines for the Service, which this year has resulted in one older fire engine being available for donation to this worthy cause.
He continued: “The timing of this coincided with an appeal from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) asking for fire engines to be donated to the Ukrainian Fire Service.
“The Chair (Cllr K Taylor) and Vice Chair (Cllr R Phillips) of the Fire Authority supported officers in agreeing that we would donate the vehicle and two van loads of equipment, and work rapidly started to get it ready for the journey to Poland, where it will be handed on to Polish firefighters who will arrange the onward deployment into Ukraine.”
Chief Fire Officer Jon Pryce added: “The commitment and offers of support from our staff to assist in this initiative has been outstanding and we are pleased to do anything we can to help Ukraine’s firefighters during this very difficult time.
“I’m proud that HWFRS has donated a fire engine and a considerable amount of surplus or end of life equipment, with two of our firefighters driving over to Europe to deliver it.
“I’d like to thank Station Commander Paul Roberts from our Training Centre and Watch Commander Mark Andrews from Herefordshire (West District), who volunteered to make the long and tiring journey to Poland.
“This has been a superb joint effort by many of our staff and I’m pleased that we have been able to do our bit to help the NFCC and national charity Fire Aid. It will be a long journey, but I have every confidence that the staff we’ve selected will do a great job in representing HWFRS.”
The convoy should arrive in east Poland sometime today (Monday 21 March), where the HWFRS team will hand over the trucks and equipment to Polish firefighters, and provide some familiarisation training on their use before flying back to the UK.
For more information about the NFCC Initiative please click on the following link https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/News/fire-services-across-the-uk-are-donating-thousands-of-items-of-kit-and-equipment-to-be-sent-to-ukraine-to-support-firefighters-on-the-frontline-