FIRE AID's international work, which contributes to Pillar 5 Post-Crash response of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, has been recognised at the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards where FIRE AID won the 2019 Premier Award.
For thirty years His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent has played a leading role in supporting improved road safety both in the United Kingdom and around the world. Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards recognise outstanding achievement and innovation in road safety worldwide. Each year His Royal Highness presents his Premier Award to the organisation which he considers has had the most impact on road safety during the year.
According to the WHO 50-75% of the world’s population has no formal Emergency Medical Service. Improved emergency care could address over half the deaths in low and middle-income countries. Yet immediate post-crash response remains relatively neglected.
FIRE AID was founded in 2014, bringing together like-minded organisations working to improve post-crash response through donations of equipment and training to emergency services globally. It is a unique umbrella organisation, which enables its member organisations to share knowledge, expertise, funding and equipment, whilst raising awareness of the importance of post-crash response as a core pillar of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. FIRE AID’s global projects deliver modern equipment and professional training to fire & rescue services, improving their ability to respond effectively to road incidents within the ‘golden hour’ after a collision and their potential to save lives.
On receiving the award Emma Maclennan FIRE AID’s Vice Chair said:
“I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of FIRE AID and our members. We work tirelessly in the often forgotten pillar of road safety; Pillar 5 Post-Crash response to send recycled fire and rescue equipment to countries in desperate need of modern equipment and training. Although we have a wide international reach, we are a tiny charity with extremely limited funding who rely on volunteers. As a result, we were overwhelmed to receive the Prince Michael Premier Award for our work in post-crash response.”
Unique to FIRE AID is the equipment database used by UK fire & rescue services to list perfectly useable (but decommissioned) fire and rescue equipment, saving it from being scrapped. This equipment is matched with FIRE AID members who deliver it as humanitarian aid to fire & rescue services in low- and middle-income countries struggling with post-crash response.
All equipment donations are made ethically and sustainably and FIRE AID works with emergency services in destination countries, local civil society organisations and government agencies to ensure that every donation forms part of a broader road injury reduction strategy.
On a global level, FIRE AID has grown rapidly over the last five years, delivering projects in more than 50 countries and training over 5,000 fire fighters. Their recent projects have delivered aid to Tajikistan, Ukraine, Moldova, South Sudan and Lebanon to name a few. These include working with female search and rescue teams providing rope rescue and immediate emergency care training to women from remote and rural areas of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Search and rescue teams made up of solely women are active in this area because they often stay in the villages whilst the men are away working and are therefore first to respond post-crash. FIRE AID's members provided training and equipment to support these search and rescue teams to allow them to extract and stabilise road traffic collision casualties from difficult locations to sustain life and promote recovery before the emergency services reach the scene.
In Ukraine, FIRE AID's members delivered specific road traffic collision training and equipment across four regions in collaboration with FedEx Express Europe, under their social responsibility platform, FedEx Cares. The delivery of 12 modern Road Traffic Collision sets and 3 modern fire vehicles will allow fire fighters to reach the scene of an incident quicker and respond more effectively at the scene, increasing the causalities risk of survival.
Andrey Grishchenko, Station Manager from Korosten, Ukraine said of the training delivered: “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.”
A 5-year project supported by the US and UK Embassies in Moldova, which completed this year, saw FIRE AID members (including founding member the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) working with Moldovan emergency services and local EASST partner, the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM), to improve emergency response. When the project began in 2014 the total capacity for the whole country included 144 fire appliances (92 fewer than the Moldovan Government’s recommended minimum), of which 8 appliances were fit for responding to road traffic collisions and only 7% fell within the government’s suitability criteria. 93% of appliances were more than 13 years old, and many were over 20 years old.
In response, FIRE AID members delivered a total of 45 modern fire appliances, 63 road traffic collision sets, 5 ambulances, 2 water rescue boats and trained over 1,200 emergency responders. To date, the donated fire appliances and equipment have been used to attend over 15,000 incidents resulting in at least 200 individuals being saved who would not have been extricated otherwise [Source, Moldovan Republican Fire Service records]. In addition, in 2015, Moldova’s fire & rescue service was admitted to the World Rescue Organisation for the first time, achieving a creditable Level Three Membership for their demonstration of post-crash extrication techniques.