More than 60 volunteers from FIRE AID and fire and rescue services are taking the convoy into Poland. It will then make its way into Ukraine, providing vitally needed equipment to support firefighters, emergency services and volunteers, battling together on the frontline.
Vehicles underwent final checks and the convoy departed Kent early on Saturday morning. The convoy will take approximately three days to arrive in Poland where it will be transferred to Ukraine. When it reaches Ukraine, the equipment will be used to support emergency services which are dealing daily with fires and other emergencies to protect lives, people and property as the invasion devastates the country, often using old or worn equipment.
Coordinated by UK charity, FIRE AID and International Development (FIRE AID), the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), and the fire industry through the Fire Industry Association, the 22-strong vehicle convoy includes 15 fire engines, an incident response unit, a hydraulic rescue platform, mechanical support for the journey, and two lorries containing equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, generators, lighting, hoses, and thousands of sets of PPE.
The deployment of these donations is being supported by funding from the UK Home Office, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and the FIA Foundation, as well as through a public appeal via JustGiving.
The wider fire sector – including the MSA Safety, Fire Sector Federation (FSF), the Fire and Rescue Suppliers [FIRESA] Council and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) – are also key partners in supporting and making the deployment.
Claire Hoyland, Project Manager at FIRE AID says: “We’re calling this a mega convoy as it is not only mega in size, but it has been truly a monumental effort from all involved. Within two weeks we have put together the biggest ever donation of aid from UK Fire and Rescue services. I am so proud of everyone involved and so grateful for the support of our project partners, including EASST, NFCC, and the Home Office, along with many others who have contributed time, money, and assistance.
FIRE AID members have been working in Ukraine for more than a decade. We have a number of friends and colleagues within the Ukrainian fire service battling fires and responding to emergencies on the front line. We know that this donation is much needed and we are proud to be able to help in whatever way we can.”
Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, Mark Hardingham said: "To see the convoy of fire vehicles - packed with thousands of pieces of firefighting equipment, start its journey was incredibly humbling; every firefighter and volunteer involved should be immensely proud of how their amazing work is making this a reality. This firefighting kit will soon be with Ukrainian emergency services, helping our firefighter colleagues to save lives and protect their local communities – often whilst under devastating attacks.”