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Firefighters convoy in the rear view mirror
21 Mar 2022

Request to CTIF from Ukraine resulted in the "largest firefighters aid convoy in history" headed for Poland

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A truck convoy with 22 donated fire engines and thousands or items for firefighting, supported by 55 UK fire officers as drivers headed to Poland, to be redistributed there - ultimately to be sent as help for firefighters in the Ukraine - is now making its way through Europe. News of similar convoys from other European countries sending firefighting materials to Ukraine is pouring in as you read this. 

In the video above, we can hear one of the leading UK fire officers Roy Barraclough, station manager in Shoreham, West Sussex, talk about the UK- Germany project Fire Aid / Operation Florian,  just as the convoy was getting ready to board the ferry in Dover, headed for Caias in France. 

A Portuguese convoy with firefighting material heading for Ukraine, posted on March 18
Portuguese firefighter column, crossing Germany, on the way to Ukraine: Upon reaching the Polish-Ukrainian border, all the vehicles, equipment, medical supplies, rescue material, and other miscellaneous relief will be donated to Ukrainian aid personnel. Source: My Country? Europe (Facebook)

DISCLAIMER: As CTIF.org is writing this, more news of similar convoys from other countries heading to Ukraine with donated trucks and other materials is pouring in, and we simply cannot keep up with current info about all the great projects around the world to help Ukraine!

If you want us to publish news of your firefighters aid project for Ukraine,  please contact CTIF Web editor & Communications coordinator Björn Ulfsson to tell us about it!

As an exampe, we´d like to mention one of the posts on the Facebook-page My country? Europe, which writes briefly about an initiative of a similar large convoy heading from Portugal to Ukraine, under the hashtags #StandWithUkraine #UniteThem:

 

"This is probably the largest European fire brigade convoy in support of the Ukrainian State Agency for Emergency Management (DSNS)", according to the press release from Tom Reher at the Glinde fire brigade in Germany, who is now coordinating the UK convoy on it's way through Europe.  

The convoy from Great Britain is stopping for fuel, rest and to pick up additional trucks and  more donated fire fighting materials at the Glinde Fire Brigade in Germany. The convoy then starts on the last leg of its journey to Poland, where the National CTIF Committee of Poland is serving as the reload station and coordination point for several firefighters aid projects aimed to help Ukraine Fire Services.

This all came together after CTIF and their member nations received a letter from the Ukraine Civil Protection Agency  on March 14 asking  CTIF member nations for help with materials for their firefighters during the armed conflict in Ukraine.

The United Kingdom´s foreign ministry and The German Association if Fire Services (DFV) are some of the CTIF member organisations  who thoroughly has heard the official call for help. 

According to a press release from Tom Reher at Glinde Fire Brigade in Germany, the call was forwarded to the British National Fire Brigade Council (NFCC) for implementation. This in turn has Fire Aid Ltdresponsible for the management and organization of the project.

The London Fire Brigade confirmed their participation in the project in a post on their homepage on Friday the 18th:

Fire and Rescue Services from across the UK have been donating kit and equipment to be sent to Ukraine to support frontline firefighters. As part of a coordinated effort led by Fire AID and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the Brigade has donated breathing apparatus equipment and cylinders.

"Members of the Brigade’s International Search and Rescue (ISAR) Logistics team have been leading the project to sort and safely load the donations this week, ready for them to be transported. A convoy of 22 vehicles will be setting off on Saturday (19 March) driven by firefighters and Fire AID volunteers, including three firefighters from the Brigade", says the press release from London Fire Brigade. 

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dave O'Neill, said: “The crisis in Ukraine is truly shocking and I am grateful that the Brigade has been able to support the efforts to help the victims.Fire services have been donating equipment and PPE and I am pleased that the Brigade has been able to help, not only by donating equipment, but also being part of the convoy".

“As expected, we have had an overwhelming number of responses to our advert calling for volunteers. There are further convoys planned and those that have expressed an interest will be included in a database for this and future opportunities.”

 

The route of the convoy through Europe

 

The entire convoy of around 55 British firefighters/drivers left  08:00 on Saturday morning (19/03/2022) as a formation from Ashford in Kent, taking the Dover to Calais ferry and then via France  Belgium and the Netherlands drive to cross the border between the Netherlands and Germany at Venlo/Niederdorf on the A67/BAB40 around 13:00 noon", according to the press release.  

Leading the vehicle convoy are Mike Pitney (Kent, Fire and Rescue Service, already running a project in Lviv, Ukraine), Roy Barraclough  (Trustee of Operation Florian and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service), Steve Jordan ( Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Operation Florian) and Claire Hoyland (EASST and MP for Fire Aid).

According to the press release, Wolfgang Marin and Tom Reher will over the route through Germany and will accompany the convoy to Erfurt with a vehicle from the Glinde fire brigade. The destination of the convoy is in Poland near the Ukrainian border, where the vehicles and the relief supplies will be delivered to the Polish,  to be handed over to the Ukrainian Fire Brigade Association.

 

The route of the convoy through Europe

 

This is a project by Fire Aid Ltd. along with the National Fire Service Chiefs Council NFCC. https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/ Operation Florian is a member of Fire Aid. 

"FireAid (https://www.fire-aid.org/ is a UK based charity that has been helping fire services across Europe for decades", according to CTIF´s Senior Project Adviser in the UK, Dennis Davis. 

Since last week, "Fire Aid" and "Operation Florian" have had a convoy of (currently) 22 large firefighting vehicles (including fire engines, articulated masts, command vehicles) from all over Great Britain to be handed over as humanitarian aid in support of the Ukrainian Fire Brigade.

In addition, donations of more than 5,000 pieces of fire and rescue equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, generators, lights, hoses, rescue equipment and thousands of sets of personal protective equipment are transported on two trucks. 

This convoy is a cooperation between UK Fire Services and the German Fire Service Association, DFV:

"22 fire engines are donated to Ukraine and around 60 firefighters who are on their way to the Ukrainian border with at least 22 large firefighting vehicles (including fire engines, articulated masts, command vehicles) will stop in Erfurt and spend the night here", says the press release from the Glinde Fire Brigade in Germany.

Mayor Andreas Bausewein and Deputy Andreas Horn will welcome the firefighters. The professional fire brigade Erfurt offers the possibility to refuel the vehicles and welcomes the convoy with a pilot vehicle. The Mittelhausen volunteer fire brigade takes care of food and set up the night camp for the British comrades.

"It's a small sign of solidarity with Ukraine and of cohesion with our British colleagues that we are of course making everything possible for this rest stop at short notice," said Mayor Andreas Bausewein.

"According to British organizers, Ukraine's state disaster control and civil protection agency in Kyiv had contacted the European states with a request for help via the World Fire Brigade Association (CTIF)", continues the press release.

The association "Fire Aid Ltd." and the non-profit "Operation Florian" then took care of putting together the convoy with donations from fire brigades in Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Gloustershire, Kent, West Sussex, Northamptonshire and Hampshire, among others.

The vehicles are intended as a major donation to the Ukraine and are to be used there for extinguishing, salvaging and rescuing.

Also donated are more than 5,000 pieces of fire and rescue equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, generators, lights, hoses, rescue gear and thousands of sets of personal protective equipment.

The use of these donations is supported by funding from the UK Home Office, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the FIA ​​Foundation, as well as a public appeal through JustGiving.

In Germany, the relief operation supports not only the Erfurt fire department but also the volunteer fire brigade of the city of Glinde.

 

UK Firefighters with a Ukraine flag, the day before the convoy left for Poland.

 

April 14, 2022

A letter from the Ukraine Civil Protection Agency, sent to the CTIF President today Monday March 14, was presented and discussed in a CTIF Executive meeting the same afternoon.  

The request was general in nature and did not specify what aid is needed, or an entry point for materials collected, which is something CTIF now is seeking more information on. CTIF also recognizes the great foreign aid efforts member countries already are involved in, and is asking member organisations for advice on how CTIF centrally can help these efforts further

The same, or similar letters requesting help has been sent to several of our member nations as well. The Executive Committee therefore decided to endorse the request by forwarding it to all of our National member contact points, rather than taking on an overall coordinating role  at this very moment - that is, at least until when and if such a need has been defined / expressed by our member nations.  

The CTIF is deeply concerned about  firefighters involved in the armed conflict in Ukraine and will endorse any reasonable and coordinated efforts to aid first responders involved in civil protection in Ukraine.

A digital copy of the letter is included as a jpeg at the bottom of this post.   

 

 

A digital copy of the letter sent for the Ukraine Civil Protection Agency to CTIF on March 14, 2022

A digital copy of the official letter sent from the Ukraine Civil Protection Agency to CTIF on March 14, 2022 .