Building the capacity of local fire fighters to improve post crash response

Moldova, News, Post-Crash Response

Last week EASST and Operation Florian welcomed eight fire fighters from Chisinau and Tiraspol to the UK for a joint training programme provided by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service as part of our FIRE AID project funded through the Conflict Security and Stability Fund and facilitated by the UK Embassy in Moldova.

One of the core aims of the project is to save lives in road traffic crashes through building the capacity of local fire fighters to improve post crash response.

Post-crash response is an essential Pillar within the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. However, many low and middle-income countries still lack capacity for road rescue and, as a result, many people are dying at the side of the road every day. Working effectively, a good system of post-crash response could save up to 50% of lives lost on the roads every year.

Over the last year, our FIRE AID project with Operation Florian has delivered three fully operational fire appliances along with personal protective equipment, breathing apparatus and road crash extraction equipment to the Fire Safety Unit of Tiraspol. In addition, EASST has donated18 fire appliances and other equipment to Moldova over the past five years with the support of the US Embassy in Chisinau.

To support these donations, a group of extremely dedicated UK fire fighters have continuously volunteered their time and expertise, traveling to the region on multiple occasions, to provide training to fire services on both sides of the Nistru river.

Last week’s training in the UK was a continuation of this. The visit gave fire fighters from Chisinau and Tiraspol the opportunity to gather information on how a UK Fire and Rescue Service training centre operates, with the intention of acquiring an understanding of what a modern fire training facility is able to provide so that they can develop and implement some of this into their own services. The course also provided an insight into fire behaviour – demonstrating the dangers of back draft when tackling a fire – as well as water rescue with the London Fire Brigade, and urban search and rescue through training on how to work effectively in confined spaces.

During their time in the UK, the team were also visited by HE Lucy Joyce, UK Ambassador to Moldova and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Chief Officer, Dawn Whittaker who spoke with the delegates about their training. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Station Commander, Dave Thurston said:

“They are enthused by our procedures, which will enable them to take back best practice with them, new development and knowledge around realistic incident training, as well as the structure of the Service. The other thing they have been taking on board is our health and safety culture. This year, we took all of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service de-commissioned Draeger sets and fully trained them on breathing apparatus procedures. Their level of firefighter safety has now significantly improved, along with public safety.”