A South Yorkshire firefighter is heading to Moldova to help train the country’s fire crews in road traffic collision (RTC) rescue.
Steve North, based at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Handsworth training centre, is part of a World Rescue Organisation (WRO) team spending five days working with firefighters in the Easter European country.
Steve, one of the UK’s leading specialists in RTC rescue, is Extrication Deputy Head for the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) and has previously visited Ghana to teach rescue techniques to firefighters.
The 53 year-old, who was also part of a South Yorkshire team named World Extrication Champions in 2004, has been a firefighter for 25 years. He started his career at London Fire Brigade before transferring to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in 2000.
In 2012 there were 2,712 recorded road traffic collisions in the Republic of Moldova, causing 441 deaths. This makes the country’s fatality rate for RTCs more than 10 times that of the UK’s.
Factors contributing to this are the length of time for rescue assistance to reach incidents, a lack of necessary equipment to respond effectively to incidents, and gaps in knowledge of those responding to incidents.
Steve said: “The road death casualty rates in Moldova are unacceptably high and I think we have a duty in the developed world to share learning with firefighters there to help save lives.
“Things in Moldova have already improved thanks to previous training missions and some kit and equipment donations. The aim of this visit is to help the Moldovan fire service establish its own, national extrication challenge competition for its crews as a way of promoting skills and learning in the country in a sustainable way.”
The training trip is part of the International Development Programme (IDP) and will see Steve and the WRO team teaching extrication techniques to training staff. The team fly out to Moldova on 26 October.