Prince Michael recognises FIRE AID’s contribution to post-crash response with Premier Award

News, Post-Crash Response

FIRE AID wins Premier Award at 2019 Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards for its contribution to Pillar 5 of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.

For thirty years His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent has played a leading role in supporting improved road safety both in the United Kingdom and around the world.  Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards recognise outstanding achievement and innovation in road safety worldwide. Each year His Royal Highness presents his Premier Award to the organisation which he considers has had the most impact on road safety during the year. We couldn’t be more proud to see FIRE AID’s work recognised with this highly prestigious award.

According to the WHO 50-75% of the world’s population has no formal Emergency Medical Service. Improved emergency care could address over half the deaths in low and middle-income countries. Yet immediate post-crash response remains relatively neglected.

FIRE AID was founded in 2014, bringing together like-minded organisations working to improve post-crash response through donations of equipment and training to emergency services globally. It is a unique umbrella organisation which enables its member organisations to share knowledge, expertise, funding and equipment, whilst raising awareness of the importance of post-crash response as a core pillar of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. FIRE AID’s global projects deliver modern equipment and professional training to fire & rescue services, improving their ability to respond effectively to road incidents within the ‘golden hour’ after a collision and their potential to save lives.

On presenting the award His Royal Highness commended FIRE AID for its efforts to redress the balance to improve post-crash response in low-and-middle income counties.

Unique to FIRE AID is the equipment database used by UK fire & rescue services to list perfectly useable (but decommissioned) fire and rescue equipment, saving it from being scrapped. This equipment is matched with FIRE AID members who deliver it as humanitarian aid to fire & rescue services in low- and middle-income countries struggling with post-crash response.

All equipment donations are made ethically and sustainably and FIRE AID works with emergency services in destination countries, local civil society organisations and government agencies to ensure that every donation forms part of a broader road injury reduction strategy

A 5-year project supported by the US and UK Embassies in Moldova, which completed this year, saw FIRE AID members (including EASST) working with Moldovan emergency services and local EASST partner, the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM), to improve emergency response. When the project began in 2014 the total capacity for the whole country included 144 fire appliances (92 fewer than the Moldovan Government’s recommended minimum) of which 8 appliances were fit for responding to road traffic collisions and only 7% fell within the government’s suitability criteria. 93% of appliances were more than 13 years old, and many were over 20 years old.

In response, FIRE AID members delivered a total of 45 modern fire appliances, 63 road traffic collision sets, 5 ambulances, 2 water rescue boats and trained over 1,200 emergency responders. To date, the donated fire appliances and equipment have been used to attend over 15,000 incidents resulting in at least 200 individuals being saved who would not have been extricated otherwise [Source, Moldovan Republican Fire Service records]. In addition, in 2015, Moldova’s fire & rescue service was admitted to the World Rescue Organisation for the first time, achieving a creditable Level Three Membership for their demonstration of post-crash extrication techniques.

On a global level, FIRE AID has grown rapidly, delivering projects in more than 50 countries and training over 5,000 fire fighters. One of FIRE AID’s core aims is to bring together organisations delivering post-crash response aid to meet agreed, sustainable project standards. Its model can be replicated in other countries to provide improved coordination and data on international aid to emergency services. As an umbrella organisation FIRE AID does not require large funds, but collaboration and willingness of like-minded organisations. FIRE AID has the ambition of extending membership to more international member organisations as a means of encouraging the model to spread.