In July 2012, supported by EASST and by local donations, Mike Pitney of Ashford Fire Station led a group of eight fire fighters from Kent Fire and Rescue Service to Ukraine to officially donate much-needed fire suits and equipment to the town of Korosten in Zhytomyr oblast, near Chernobyl. In addition to the provision of equipment, the Kent fire fighters provided training to the Ukrainian fire fighters in techniques for rescuing road crash victims.
On Friday 6th July, an official ceremony of donation of the two fully equipped fire engines and fire suits was held at the Kyiv Fire Station Number 25 of the Ministry of Emergencies in Ukraine.
“Fire fighters in Ukraine have to cope with equipment dating from Soviet times, including shabby fire gear offering little protection from flames. Our donation will definitely save lives and prevent serious injuries,” said Mike Pitney of Ashford Fire Station. The Kent Fire and Rescue Service in the UK ran charity activities in the UK to raise money to travel to Ukraine to deliver the vehicles. The donation was facilitated by EASST who worked closely with their Ukrainian partner the Road Safety Support Foundation and the UK Embassy in Ukraine to ensure smooth delivery of the equipment.
Their joint interest is to help improve the emergency response to road collisions. Emma MacLennan, Director of EASST, underlined the importance of this donation and the road safety training. “In Ukraine 78% of road casualties die at the scene of a crash, compared to less than one-third in the UK. Both training and equipment are inadequate. With help from the Kent fire fighters, EASST is hoping to end this needless loss of life.”
Via the provision of its road traffic collision training, this initiative is contributing to the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety 2011-20 which seeks to save 5 million lives during its span. Post-crash care is one of the ‘Five Pillars’ of the Decade, along with safer roads, safer vehicles, safer road users and effective road safety management. Kent Fire and Rescue Service is addressing an area often overlooked, but absolutely vital to casualty reduction.
The donation was very well received by the media, producing a large amount of coverage:
Official Parliament of Ukraine newspaper: http://www.golos.com.ua/Article.aspx?id=261466
News report video (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCgfAQB_pDw
One of the donated fire engines in action at the scene of a crash: http://mir24.net/ukrnews/313-ukrainian-events/4825-na-zhitomirshhine-poezd-razdavil-gruzovik