The Operation Florian project team have recently return from a successful visit to Macedonia where they have secured agreement from key national stakeholders to deliver a blue light emergency service inter-operability programme to improve response and operational effectiveness at road traffic collisions.

Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Fire and Rescue Service and Directorate of Protection and Rescue met to agree to support the project and move forward with the planning for delivery in May 2016.Macedonia Meeting

Currently, Macedonia suffers from 8 road deaths per 100,000 head of population.  Comparatively, these statistics are over double that of the UK.  There has been concerned voiced by representatives within the various national institutions that rate of fatalities is increasing and that this is beginning to constitute a major public health issue that must be addressed.

Operation Florian has been working in partnership with fire and rescue services around the country for the past 8 years.  During this time there has been a significant improvement in the operational capacity within the fire and rescue service attending fire related incidents and road traffic collisions.

In 2008, the Directorate of Protection and Rescue, the national agency for civil protection and emergency response training, requested Operation Florian undertake a review of the overall operational capacities of the fire and rescue service and governing framework.  One major area of concern identified was that less than 10% of the country was covered by fire services equipped to attend road traffic collisions .

A major strand of the capacity building project involved the donation of technical rescue equipment and the development of rescue skills amongst firefighters. This was further supported with training road traffic collision rescue instructors.  The project has now increased the capacity to attend road traffic collisions to approximately 80% of the country with all the major motorway networks and roads covered.

After a project performance review undertaken by the project team analysis revealed that there ha been improvements and lives had been saved on account of the donations and training.  However, there still appeared to be a disconnection between the fire and rescue service and other emergency responders regarding the awareness of their rescue capabilities and the overall contribution they could make to increasing survivability rates.  Needlessly, a further consequence was that this reduced the opportunities to be mobilised to incidents.

The proposed pilot programme is modelled on the JESIP (Joint Emergency Service Inter-Operability Programme) principles used in the UK. The programme will be delivered in three locations which have been selected on the basis of location, road networks and levels of fatalities and serious injuries occurring.

Front line first responders from each emergency service will train together during the day’s programme focusing on the roles and responsibilities of each emergency service who attend RTC’s incorporating the guiding principles of the JESIP programme.

A key starting point to this project is clearly underlined by the incredible commitment of all the national stakeholders.  There is still a great deal of work to be completed by the project team.  Nevertheless, with such support offered the project presents an exciting challenge to the team.

Operation Florian wants to thanks all the representatives from the national institutions for attending and the Directorate of Protection and Rescue for hosting and chairing the meeting.