In a joint project addressing the fifth pillar of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, 4 fully equipped firefighting appliances each with a full complement of road traffic collision extrication equipment have been delivered to fire and rescue units at Singerei, Ialoveni, Chisinau and Floresti in the Republic of Moldova sponsored by the British Embassy in Moldova, the Embassy of the United States in Moldova and the FIA Foundation.
The Minister for Internal Affairs Dorin Recean has provided full support to the project
The equipment has been officially donated to the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service of the Republic of Moldova by UK fire and rescue service humanitarian charity Operation Florian, accompanied by a two week training programme delivered by UK professionals to internationally recognised standards with a particular focus on improving the emergency response to road traffic collisions in Moldova – a country which has a particularly high road fatality rate. The overall aim is to reduce attendance times to incidents and to ensure that personnel with the right skills and equipment are able to save saveable lives.
The project has received considerable in-country support from the British and American Embassies, represented here by Ambassador Batson and Don Carroll at the 4th May ceremony
The project began in October 2013 with a scoping visit to Moldova coordinated by EASST in cooperation with EASST Advisory Board member Deputy Minister Diaconu of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Moldova and EASST’s local partner the Automobile Club of Moldova. The week long scoping visit introduced UK charities Operation Florian and the UK Rescue Organisation to the Republic of Moldova to carry out a full assessment of equipment and training across the country in order to determine the scope of the delivery and training content and establish key relationships.
Oleg Malashevsky (Chief of the Service and Response Division of the Rescuer and Firefighter Directorate) interviewed here on the arrival of the fire appliances, has been key to the successful implementation of the project
Following a six month planning period, the vehicle convoy left the UK on 27th April arriving in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on 1st May – driven some 1,700 miles by a team of Florian volunteers through 8 countries. The UK firefighters, many of whom were in Moldova for the first time, were warmly welcomed to Chisinau by Minister for Internal Affairs Dorin Recean and Colonel Mihail Harabagiu, Chief of the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service, who hosted an official handover ceremony attended by HMA Batson and Mr. Don Carroll of the US Embassy who were generously thanked, along with the FIA Foundation, for their sponsorship of the project which has enabled both vehicles and trainers to travel to Moldova. The televised ceremony also saw the donation of a 12-seater minibus to the Automobile Club of Moldova for use during their road safety projects.
At the welcome ceremony, Julie Utting of EASST spoke of the vital contribution made by firefighters globally in addressing the aims of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety
An intensive two-week training programme began on 5th May at training centres across the country in Chisinau (central), Balti (north) and Comrat (south) conducted by an expert team of UK volunteer firefighters led by Operation Florian. Training for the Moldovan personnel included firefighting and operating techniques associated with the donated appliances for crews in the receiving locations, standard road traffic extrication (RTC) training, along with a course of first aid and trauma care training. Training was also provided to the specialist Salvatori Rescuers from Balti, Chisinau, Comrat and Cahul, focusing purely on the delivery of advanced RTC rescue instruction.
RTC rescue training being delivered in Comrat by the UK volunteer firefighters
Organised by the US Embassy in Moldova, the firefighters visited the QSI International School to talk to school children about fire and road safety. The visit – extremely popular with the children and staff – involved various games and practical activities encouraging the children to think about safety in their homes and when using the roads. British Ambassador Phil Batson kindly hosted a reception at his residence – thoroughly enjoyed by the team based in Chisinau. Ambassador Batson, a keen supporter of EASST in Moldova, spoke about the value of the project and his continued commitment to road safety. EASST and the firefighters were also invited as special guests to the Automobile Club of Moldova’s official launch of their ‘Alex in the City’ road safety show for children.
Delivering fire and road safety messages to the children of the QSI International School
The training concluded on 16th May with an official ceremony and a demonstration of skills learnt by the Moldovan firefighters attended by Minister Recean, Deputy British Ambassador John Kane, and American Deputy Chief of Mission Kara C. McDonald. The UK firefighting team, led by Craig Kelsall, Bruce Hoad, George Wippich and Trevor Green were awarded for their contribution by Colonel Harabagiu. The Moldovan personnel undergoing the training received certificates in recognition of the completion of the two-week programme. Tatiana Mihailova of the ACM and Julie Utting of EASST also received medals for their contribution in organising the project.
The Moldovan firefighters demonstrate use of their new equipment and skills during the final day demonstration
A second phase delivery will take place in September 2014 implemented by Blythswood Care and UK Rescue Organisation who, with Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service, will advise on the feasibility and timing of the possible development of a Rescue Challenge competition being developed in Moldova and its possible participation as guests in the UK Rescue Challenge.
UK and Moldovan firefighters with Florian’s Bruce Hoad and Colonel Harabagiu celebrating the completion of the training on 16th May
Each of the 4 principal UK partners – EASST, Operation Florian, UKRO, Blythswood Care – is a founding member of Fire AID, an association of UK organizations involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid. Fire AID’s principal objectives include uniting project partners to maximize added value, securing well managed, high quality projects and ensuring the provision of ethical and sustainable donations, in support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-20. The project has demonstrated the benefits of joint projects facilitated by Fire AID for improving road crash rescue capacity.