South Yorkshire firefighters have been praised for the ‘overwhelming’ support they have given to their international colleagues, after sending hundreds of items of specialist equipment to Portugal.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) delivered dozens of pallets of tools, clothing and other life saving kit to Albufeira in response to a plea for equipment from volunteer firefighters in the region.
The shipment includes hose reel fittings, ropes and lines and items used in road traffic collision rescues.
Nine out of ten firefighters in Portugal are self-funded volunteers who rely on equipment donations to carry out their life saving work.
The equipment they’ve received was no longer in use in South Yorkshire, but will now be repaired and used by the Albufeira fire service, which responds to incidents across a large area of the Algarve as well as carrying out important prevention work.
Nuno Correira, from the Albufeira fire service, said: “We are so grateful to our friends in South Yorkshire for this equipment. It will be hard for people living to the UK to appreciate what a donation like this means to firefighters in Portugal, who are nearly all self-funded volunteers. It’s completely overwhelming and the equipment really will make a big difference, not just to firefighters in Albufeira, but across the whole of the region.”
SYFR Group Manager Andy Strelczenie, said: “The equipment we’ve donated had reached the end of its operational life here in South Yorkshire, but it’s brilliant that it will continue to be put to life saving use by our international colleagues in Portugal. Firefighting is a profession which knows no borders and when the request came to help our colleagues overseas, we were only too happy to help.”
Portugal is one of the countries currently assisted by Operation Florian, an international humanitarian charity providing fire engines, equipment and training to the world’s poorest regions which lose millions of lives every year to fires and disasters.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has previously donated obsolete equipment to Kashmir and Moldova. Its officers have also travelled to Ghana and parts of Eastern Europe to train fire crews in those countries in better rescue techniques.