Improved capacity of emergency services in Moldova sees 200 lives saved … so far

Moldova, News, Post-Crash Response

On Friday 29th March 2019 a closing event was held at the General Inspectore for Emergency Situations (GIES) in Chisinau, the event marked the end of a successful five-year partnership with FIRE AID and International Development. Over the last five years, in partnership with Operation Florian and, the Auto Mobile Club of Moldova (ACM), we have delivered valuable equipment and training across multiple principles to the fire service in Moldova, saving over 200 lives already.

The project, which was funded by the UK government’s Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) worked with emergency services on both banks of the Nistru river to build pathways for engagement between Chisinau and Tiraspol, previously non-existent due to the political division which inhibited emergency response cooperation. Throughout the project both GIES and the Fire Safety Unit of Tiraspol have collaborated to complete joint training on water rescue, fire science and incident command, including post-crash response. Firefighters from both sides of the river remarked: “we will work actively in-partnership in future” stating they had built mutual respect and friendship as well as learning from each other over the joint trainings.

The same message was echoed at the closing event by Vasile Magu, from the Bureau of Reintegration who stated: “When it comes to saving lives there are truly no borders” and General Harabagiu who remarked: “The river does not divide the emergency services when it comes to saving lives” The event brought together all project partners to celebrate this collaboration, in attendance was HMA Lucy Joyce, Vasile Magu the Bureau of Reintegration, General Harabagiu GIES, Roy Barraclough Operation Florian, Claire Hoyland EASST, Tatiana Mihailova ACM, Vadim Shmalenko the Fire Safety Unit of Tiraspol and Oleg Malashevsky who managed the project on behalf of GIES, amongst other guests and media.

As well as building relationships between emergency services on both sides of the river, the project has also donated hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment from UK fire and rescue services. Amongst this 21 modern fire appliances, 18 of which were donated to GIES and 3 of which were donated to the Fire Safety Unit of Tiraspol, over 30 sets of road traffic collision cutting equipment and hundreds of sets of personal protective equipment and breathing apparatus, in Tiraspol we were able to provide the entire fire service with at least one set of breathing apparatus each. The event also marked the donations of 2 water rescue boats donated from South Wales Fire and Rescue service, 1 of which was donated to GIES and 1 to the Fire Safety Unit of Tiraspol.

Although the main project work has been with the emergency services in the Republic of Moldova, the ACM and EASST have enabled over 2,500 school children to be educated on road safety through lessons delivered jointly between the Police and GIES. As a result of this successful work the EASST Road Safety Education Pack is now a part of the national curriculum, and will be shared with school children across the country.

Improving the capacity and capability of emergency services can go a long way to reducing the number of deaths on the road. If emergency services arrive in time and can respond effectively to road traffic collisions, the chances of survival in a crash increase by 60-70 per cent. Since 2013 road traffic deaths in Moldova have reduced by 61%, a large part of this reduction can be accredited to FIRE AID’s work with the emergency services and the ACM’s lobbying and campaigning to change laws and improve law enforcement in the country.

It is thanks to UK fire and rescue services who donate equipment and provide instructors and volunteers that these achievements are possible. Special thanks go to Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, South Wales, Tyne and Wear, Manchester and Surrey fire and rescue services amongst many others for their support as well as to the GIES and the Fire Safety Unit of Tiraspol for their support, enthusiasm and professionalism over the last five years without this the project could not have succeeded.