EASST statement on Ukraine and our support for FIRE AID’s emergency response

News, Ukraine

EASST stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all our friends and colleagues in Ukraine and their families during this time of horrific sadness and uncertainty.

As part of our response to the invasion, and as a founding member of FIRE AID, EASST has been supporting its efforts in partnership with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) to coordinate donations of more than 5,000 items of fire and rescue equipment and PPE which have flooded in from fire services across the UK.

Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council Mark Hardingham said“As the terrible scenes unfold in Ukraine, the UK fire and rescue service is once again doing all it can to support those who urgently need help. The response has been incredible and it is testament to the public, private and voluntary sectors combining resources, enthusiasm and skills in response to the crisis. Thousands of items of kit and equipment – along with fire engines – have been donated to help the Ukrainian emergency services, battling together on the front line, as they strive to save lives and protect people and property.  “I cannot express how proud I am of everyone who has come together to support this; from getting the equipment together, the hard work which has gone into ensuring the logistics of one of the largest convoys we have seen, to volunteering to be part of the journey itself. This is our sector at its very best – selflessly working together and supporting one other – ultimately helping and hoping to save lives.” 

Following a successful scoping visit to Poland conducted by FIRE AID volunteers, FIRE AID coordinated the deployment of UK’s biggest fire service convoy – made up of 22 vehicles and more than 5,000 items of kit and equipment donated by UK fire and rescue services – to support firefighters in Ukraine. An additional convoy of four fire appliances and a lorry of PPE has also been sent to Ukraine via FIRE AID members, the Scottish Emergency Rescue Association (SERA).

More than 60 UK volunteers from FIRE AID and fire and rescue services took the vehicles across Europe, where they were received by the Polish State Fire Service and transferred to Ukraine. The donations were officially received by the Ukrainian Emergency Services, Impact NGO, and the Ministry of Interior on 31st March.

Claire Hoyland, Project Manager, FIRE AID commented“FIRE AID and its members have over 25 years of experience responding to requests for aid and support for emergency services in over 50 countries. Following the invasion of Ukraine, our members immediately mobilised to gather equipment and aid to donate to their Ukrainian counterparts. FIRE AID members have been working in partnership with the Ukrainian emergency services since 2012 and we are proud to be coordinating this unprecedented emergency response on behalf of the UK Fire Sector.” 

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.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said: “The FIA Foundation is proud to support FIRE AID’s convoy to deliver fire safety equipment to Ukraine’s frontline, in a collaborative mission by UK fire services, NGOs and Government to assist the people of Ukraine. Our foundation has longstanding links with Ukrainian road safety NGOs and with the life-saving work of FIRE AID. Through this humanitarian aid we express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their lives and their freedom.”

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The British Government and British people are standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and its citizens during this barbaric invasion. I have been speaking regularly to my counterpart at Ukraine’s Interior Ministry and the Ukrainian Ambassador in London to understand what practical help we can offer.  “We are helping to ensure that crucial fire and rescue equipment and PPE donated by Fire and Rescue Services will get to where it can directly provide succour to those brave firefighters, emergency services and volunteers on the front line in Ukraine.”

Through a generous donation of funds to our appeal, we have also been able to support Nova Poshta, a logistics company based in Ukraine, cover vital fuel costs associated with delivering humanitarian aid to local communities.

Those who know our work will know that we have been working with emergency services in Ukraine since 2012 when, with Kent Fire and Rescue, we donated two fire engines and several sets of road traffic collision extraction equipment. We have built a close working relationship, supporting Ukrainian firefighters with equipment and training. While our primary focus has been to build capacity for post-crash response, the work we have done has enabled Ukrainian crews to respond to many different types of emergencies or disasters.

During the chaos of conflict, you will always find fire fighters who stay within the war zone, not to engage in battle, but to protect lives, people, and property. Now, the equipment we donated is being put to use against devastating levels of destruction. We hope for peace soon.

Article updated: 8 April 2022