This is Martin Brien, who works at Leigh Technical Services, Workshops as a Mechanic. He has for a number of years been a volunteer with Operation Florian, carrying out repairs and delivering maintenance training of Plant, Equipment and Vehicles, preparing them for their new life at any one of the many countries Operation Florian help. He has also traveled with “Convoys” of donated vehicles to eastern European Countries namely Macedonia and Moldova helping to ensure they arrive safely.
Martin has recently returned from Moldova for a second time from a week-long visit. Once there, he and other Mechanics visited many of the countries Fire Stations to deliver vehicle maintenance training specific to the fire appliances and RTC cutting equipment that have been donated by Fire Services across the UK. The Fire Crews in Macedonia and Moldova have never have had access to training of these types of pumps and systems. The vehicles included Dennis Rapiers, and also an Ex Greater Manchester Fire Volvo Saxon Fire Appliances.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is continually being updating with better performing vehicles and equipment. The outgoing vehicles have, at times in the past, been decommissioned, salvaged for parts and or sold for scrap. Recent ideas have allowed more of these vehicles and equipment to begin a new lease of life, to be used again in countries where they are gratefully received by the communities they aim to serve and protect.
Stationed at Manchester Central from 1999 to 2010 “she” attended many incidents throughout those years, then onto joining the reserve fleet to continue service throughout Greater Manchester. In “her” latter years S299 was based then at Training & Development Centre.
Whilst in Moldova, Martin had the pleasure of being re-united with something familiar, S299! He got to meet the crews and maintenance staff that he would be working with, and indeed relying on, their new acquisition in their home district Rîșcani. Martin was met with intoxicating enthusiasm to know everything about everything.. He delivered a comprehensive, and at times intensive, however - a rewarding maintenance training course.
Rîșcani is a district in the northwest of Moldova. Population is around 70,000 people. Prior to the arrival of S299 Volunteer Firefighters relied on Russian made ZiL petrol driven vehicles. Very high relative fuel costs, performance and response times are a major consideration for the communities In Moldova and other developing countries. Hydrants are very few and are almost exclusively based in town centers. The capability to “lift” water from open sources such as rivers and lakes efficiently, to fill its own water tank and then to deliver firefighting capability to the fire ground is what S299 does very well.
The vehicles given new roles in distant lands will go on serving for many further years. They will be looked after, of that Martin is very confident.