In 2012 in the Republic of Moldova there were 2,712 road traffic collisions (RTC) registered equating to 441 deaths. An average of 1.45 persons were killed or injured at each RTC, giving a fatality rate of over 11% of casualties. Compared with the UK rate of 0.9%, this is unacceptably high. 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.
A project team from Operation Florian, Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) and United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) conducted a scoping visit in October 2013 and this concluded that Moldova has only limited emergency response capability. This was highlighted by the fact that only 15 fire appliances had extrication capability – essential for road crash rescue – covering a population of 4.4 million. Moldova has 144 fire appliances which are designated as having firefighting capability only. A fire service report suggested that 236 appliances are needed to provide even a basic emergency response across the country. Two-thirds of the 144 appliances are between 25-40 years old. This project aims to help address these issues and reduce the cost of road deaths – both human and economic.
The UK is the largest donor of fire and rescue equipment in the world. Each of the principal UK partners involved in this project is a founding member of Fire AID, an association of UK organisations involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid. This particular group, under the banner of Fire AID, has a wealth of expertise, project experience and local knowledge that has ensured a professional and effective project delivery. Fire AID’s principal objectives include uniting project partners to maximize added value, securing well managed, high quality projects and ensuring the provision of ethical and sustainable donations, in support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-20. The project has demonstrated the benefits of joint projects facilitated by Fire AID for improving road crash rescue capacity.
Summary of Project Activity
In a joint project addressing the fifth pillar of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, 4 fully equipped firefighting appliances each with a full complement of road traffic collision (RTC) extrication equipment have been delivered to fire and rescue units at Singerei, Ialoveni, Chisinau and Floresti in the Republic of Moldova sponsored by the British Embassy in Moldova, the Embassy of the United States in Moldova and the FIA Foundation.
The equipment has been officially donated to the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service of the Republic of Moldova by Operation Florian. The delivery of vehicles and equipment has been accompanied by a two-week training programme delivered by UK professionals to internationally recognised standards with a particular focus on improving the emergency response to road traffic collisions in Moldova – a country which has a particularly high road fatality rate. The goal of the vehicle and training donation is to reduce attendance times to incidents and to ensure that personnel with the right skills and equipment are able to save saveable lives.
Operation Florian has been exceptionally well supported by a number of fire and rescue authorities who have donated equipment to the project, with the 4 fire appliances being donated by East Sussex Fire Authority and Northumberland County Council. The Isle of Man Fire Service also facilitated the donation of a minibus for the project’s use. To staff the project, volunteers were sought from across the UK fire and rescue service, and the project team included personnel from no less than 9 fire services.
Following a six month planning period, the vehicle convoy left the UK on 27th April arriving in Chisinau on 1st May – driven some 1,700 miles through 8 countries by a team of Operation Florian volunteers. The UK firefighters, many of whom were in Moldova for the first time, were welcomed to Chisinau by the Minister for Internal Affairs Dorin Recean and Colonel Mihail Harabagiu, Chief of the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service, who hosted an official handover ceremony attended by Her Majesty’s Ambassador Phil Batson and Mr. Donald Carroll of the US Embassy who were generously thanked for their sponsorship of the project. The televised ceremony also saw the donation of a 12-seater minibus to the Automobile Club of Moldova for use during their road safety projects.
An intensive two-week training programme began on 5th May at training centres across the country in Chisinau (central), Balti (north) and Comrat (south) conducted by an expert team of UK volunteer firefighters led by Operation Florian. Training for the Moldovan personnel included firefighting and operating techniques associated with the donated appliances for crews in the receiving locations, standard road traffic extrication training, along with a course of first aid and trauma care training. Training was also provided to the specialist Salvatori Rescuers from Balti, Chisinau, Comrat and Cahul, focusing purely on the delivery of advanced RTC rescue instruction. In total 89 members of the Service received training. Most of these will go on to cascade their training within the Service.
Organised by the US Embassy in Moldova, firefighters visited the QSI International School to talk to pupils about fire and road safety. The visit – extremely popular with the children and staff – involved various games and practical activities encouraging the children to think about safety in their homes and when using the roads. Ambassador Batson kindly hosted a reception at his residence – thoroughly enjoyed by the team based in Chisinau – at which he spoke about the value of the project and his continued commitment to road safety initiatives in Moldova.
The two-week training period concluded on 16th May with an official ceremony and a demonstration of the skills learnt by the Moldovan rescuers attended by Minister Recean, Deputy British Ambassador John Kane, and American Deputy Chief of Mission Kara C. McDonald.
The Florian team, led by Craig Kelsall, Bruce Hoad, George Wippich and Trevor Green, were presented with awards for their contribution by Colonel Harabagiu. The Moldovan personnel undergoing the training received certificates in recognition of the completion of the two-week programme.
A photo report is included in Appendix A.
A second phase delivery will take place in September 2014 implemented by Blythswood Care and UK Rescue Organisation who, with Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service, will advise on the feasibility and timing of the possible development of a Rescue Challenge competition being developed in Moldova and its possible participation as guests in the UK Rescue Challenge. This will also see the delivery of further fire appliances and training.
Operation Florian will conduct an evaluation visit to Moldova in October 2014 to fully review the donation of the four appliances and training delivered in May 2014. It is standard procedure for the charity to carry out the assessment six months following a donation in order to allow for equipment to be used and data to be collected.
The Florian team, in consultation with the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service of the Republic of Moldova, will review the following:
- How the equipment is being used and maintained, whether continuation training has been carried out as recommended and if it has, how effective that training has been.
- Response times to incidents in the receiving localities and surrounding areas
- Road crash data in the receiving localities and surrounding areas
The evaluation visit will also be an opportunity to explore opportunities for future collaboration and to identify priorities for further specialist training.
Appendix A, Photo Report
The project was made possible by support from the British Embassy, represented at the 4th May ceremony by Ambassador Batson
Represented by Don Carroll, the US Embassy Chisinau has also provided support enabling the transportation of the vehicles to Moldova
Oleg Malashevsky (Chief of the Service and Response Division of the Rescuer and Firefighter Directorate) interviewed here on the arrival of the four fire appliances, has been key to the successful implementation of the project
George Wippich delivering fire and road safety messages to the children of the QSI International School
Graham Samuels, a Florian volunteer from Kent FRS, with children from the QSI International School
RTC rescue training being delivered in Comrat by the UK volunteer firefighters
At the welcome ceremony, Julie Utting of EASST spoke of the vital contribution made by firefighters globally in addressing the aims of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety
Moldovan firefighters demonstrate use of their new equipment and skills
UK and Moldovan firefighters with Florian’s Bruce Hoad and Colonel Harabagiu following completion of the training on 16th May
Further photos and footage can be found at: