A Northumberland fire engine is beginning a new life helping improve road safety in one of Europe’s poorest countries.
The Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) appliance, and a variety of rescue equipment, is being transferred by sea to Moldova, a country one-and-a-half times the size of Wales with a population of over 3.6 million people but which has old fire appliances, often only capable of travelling up to 30mph.
Fire stations are also relatively scarce with appliances often covering up to 35 miles to reach the edge of their cover area. Coupled with the scarcity of modern rescue equipment, (there are only 12 sets in the entire country), a person involved in a car crash in Moldova is twelve times more likely to die than in the UK.
The Northumberland fire engine, which has served across the county for the past 19 years, has been donated to the ‘Operation Florian’ charity which provides fire engines, equipment and training to the world’s poorest regions.
Operation Florian Project Manager Craig Kelsall said: “We would like to thank Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service for their kind donations. The appliance and equipment will be used as part of a project to improve the Moldova’s post-crash response, supporting the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety.
“The Moldovan Project 2014 will see the delivery of four fully equipped firefighting appliances along with the training to support them. We will also be training specialist rescue teams and running first aid instructor courses in the north and south of the country.
“Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service’s donation will be an integral part in continuing to save lives for many years to come.”
Alex Bennett, Chief Fire Officer with NFRS, said: “We sometimes take for granted the skills and resources we have in the UK, but there are many parts of the world which are much less fortunate.
“It’s great that when we replace our equipment we are able to donate these appliances to such a good cause. The engine will help play a vital role in reducing road deaths in Moldova.”
The photo shows the handover of the fire engine (from left) Mike Dayson – Deputy Project Manager, George Wippich - Deputy Project Manager, Bruce Hoad – Director Operation Florian, Craig Kelsall – Project Manager (All Operation Florian representatives) & Chief Fire Officer Alex Bennett.