Morinville Fire Department donates gear to aid Ukraine firefighters

Above: FAU project Chairman, Kevin Royle, Morinville Fire Department Chief Brad Boddez, and Captain Jake Anderson pose with some of the gear donated to Firefighter Aid for Ukraine (FAU). – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville Fire Chief Brad Boddez and Training Officer Captain Jake Anderson loaded up some of the department’s old bunker gear and helmets Mar. 22. The gear is headed out of the country as part of Firefighter Aid for Ukraine (FAU).

The non-profit organization’s goal is to collect unneeded/unwanted firefighter bunker/turnout gear, personal protective equipment (PPE), life rescue equipment, and medical supplies from Canadian fire departments and fire equipment vendors. The supplies will assist first responders in desperate need of equipment and supplies required to fulfill their duties in several locations of Ukraine.

FAU project Chairman, Kevin Royle, told Morinville News the organization’s goal is to collect 500 sets of bunker gear and distribute it to firefighters in five key areas: Lviv, Uzghorod, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, and Ternipol.

“The situation in Ukraine is pretty bad,” Royle said, adding in addition to collecting the gear and supplies, FAU is trying to raise $38,000 to be able to execute the mission. “The money is to send the 40-foot container over and also send a team of volunteers to distribute the equipment and train the recipients on the proper maintenance and use of the equipment so it extends the life and so they are using it effectively and efficiently.”

Morinville’s donation of 15 sets of bunker gear (pants and coats) and 21 helmets has helped FAU exceed their goal. They now stand at about 530 pieces. Additionally, they are $7000 shy of their $38000 financial goal.

Fire Chief Brad Boddez said Morinville’s donated gear had outlived National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards for use here.

“It doesn’t meet our standards here, but it is still very good equipment and can benefit the Ukraine there,” Boddez said.

Royle, an Edmonton firefighter, became aware of the situation inUkraine in 2012 when he answered an email request from Rotary looking for emergency service personnel to take part in a group study exchange to observe.

“It was focused on emergency services. I was selected to be part of the outbound team, and it is there I saw how bad the conditions were.”

Royle believes the equipment will be appreciated in a country where a black market fire helmet costs two-thirds of a month’s salary. The average salary in 2016 was about $300 Canadian per month.

The container will head over the first week of April and take 60 days to arrive. The team of volunteers will arrive in June for distribution and training.

More information on Firefighter Aid for Ukraine can be found on their website at www.firefighteraidukraine.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/firefighteraidukraine.

Above: FAU project Chairman, Kevin Royle and Morinville Fire Department Chief Brad Boddez look over some photos depicting the condition of firefighting equipment in Ukraine. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

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