Convoy of old fire engines set-off on 1,700 mile journey

This morning (Sunday 23rd) kind-hearted firefighters took to the road to deliver four fire appliances, including two from East Sussex, to Moldova which is in desperate need of fire and rescue equipment.

As part of the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s ongoing commitment to support the International Fire and Rescue Service a team of volunteers met at Crowborough Fire Station before beginning their 1,700 mile journey to Eastern Europe.

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe and relies on the goodwill of emergency services from more developed countries for support.

Interim Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker was there to wish the team good luck as they head off on their goodwill trip.

She said:

We should all be proud of the commitment of our East Sussex personnel, who demonstrate such dedication and passion to this cause.  This trip actively demonstrates our ongoing commitment to support those countries who are not as fortunate as us.

Every year, a large quantity of life-saving equipment in good working condition needs to be responsibly disposed of by the fire and rescue services across the UK.  This occurs for a variety of reasons, such as updates in technology, changes in risk and health and safety commitments.

However, in sharp contrast firefighters and other emergency services in other countries have to respond to incidents without adequate vehicles, equipment, personal protective equipment or training and I know they welcome the friendship and support from our Service.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is ensuring that all of its redundant fire appliances and equipment are, where possible, put to good use.  Our highly trained volunteers will also be able to share their skills to benefit others, as well as contributing to their own personal development.

This is the 4th year of providing aid to Moldova and the project which is run by Operation Florian South East and supported by East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and EASST (Eastern Alliance for Safe & Sustainable Transport).  Funding for this project comes from charitable donations and other sponsors.

Last year, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding alongside Operation Florian/FIRE AID regarding arrangements for aid projects.   This mutual interest continues to provide ethical and sustainable donations of fire and rescue aid and training to those who need assistance.

George Wippich, Operation Florian’s Project Manager for Moldova and Watch Manager at Bexhill Community Fire Station said:

Drivers will fly back to the United Kingdom on 29th April and a two-week course will be delivered by Moldovan Fire Service Instructors that Operation Florian Instructors have trained and supported over the past three years.

Next year celebrates the fifth year of this project and Operation Florian will continue to support the Moldovan Fire Service.

We would like to pass on our thanks & recognition for the significant sponsorship which has been secured from the US Embassy & British Embassy in Moldova via our project partner EASST.

Operation Florian would also like to pass on its thanks to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service for its continued & ongoing support.

Next year celebrates the fifth year of this project and Operation Florian will continue to support the Moldovan Fire Service with both training and equipment, as required.

You can follow the progress of the vehicles, and find-out more about Operation Florian, on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/OperationFlorian.

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