Amidst the devastation of war-torn Ukraine, hope arrives in the form of the largest convoy yet from UK fire and rescue services. With 33 vehicles and over 2,800 essential pieces of equipment, this mission stands as a testament to solidarity. Supported by the Home Office and FIRE AID, it embodies the unwavering commitment of the international firefighting community to support those who risk all to save lives.

23 April 2024

  • A convoy of life saving fire and rescue service equipment, coordinated by FIRE AID, will begin its journey to Ukraine today to deliver vital equipment to Ukrainian firefighters.
  • 33 fire and rescue vehicles, carrying more than 2,800 pieces of equipment, donated by UK Fire and Rescue Services and supported by the Home Office, will depart from Kent on Tuesday 23 April.
  • Ukrainian fire services have been decimated with 396 fire houses destroyed and 91 firefighters killed.
  • National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Chair, Mark Hardingham highlights the “sheer strength and resilience” on display by Ukrainian firefighters and said the collective efforts to deliver this support to them “demonstrates the very best of UK fire and rescue services.”

The largest convoy from UK fire and rescue services to date will next week deliver essential firefighting equipment to Ukrainian fire and rescue services.

The scale of this convoy is unprecedented, comprising 33 fire and rescue vehicles, two mechanics vehicles, and an HGV carrying over 2,800 items of surplus equipment. Amongst the 30 fire and rescue vehicles are 20 fire engines, eight incident command units, one aerial ladder platform, and one 4x4 vehicle.

The Home Office – working in partnership with FIRE AID, NFCC National Resilience, English and Welsh fire and rescue services (FRSs), and the Fire Industry Association - has sponsored the delivery of the equipment. It adds to the 89 surplus fire and rescue vehicles and over 190,000 items of equipment to Ukraine via six previous road convoys and a rail shipment since the full-scale war began in 2022.

Working with FIRE AID, English and Welsh FRSs have donated all the appliances, kit and equipment, amongst which are ladders, breathing apparatus sets, boats, fire and water PPE and safe working at height kit. 100 volunteers, drawn from FRSs and Fire Aid, will participate in the convoy.

Ukrainian fire and rescue services have been decimated by the impact of the war and the demands placed upon them have skyrocketed. To date, 396 firehouses have been destroyed, with 92 more now in occupied territory. 1676 fire vehicles have been destroyed. 91 firefighters have been killed, with a further 349 injured, and five are held in captivity. Meanwhile, the work of Ukrainian firefighters has grown significantly since the start of the war, with approximately 217,000 buildings destroyed or damaged, 18,270 fire eliminated and 4,975 people rescued.*

National Fire Chiefs Council Chair, Mark Hardingham, said:

“We have witnessed the sheer strength and resilience of Ukrainian firefighters since the day the war began. With the war continuing and the task before them increasingly challenging, the UK and international firefighter community will continue to provide support however we can. “The efforts to bring this equipment together, and get it to where it’s needed most, demonstrates the very best of UK fire and rescue services.”

Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire Chris Philp MP said:

“Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine has taken a toll on the brave people of Ukraine’s fire and rescue services, who have not just seen their equipment and buildings decimated, but also led to the loss of many heroic firefighter’s lives.

“We are now in the third year of this senseless conflict and today’s donation shows our determination to support the people of Ukraine remains as strong as ever. Every western country must do everything they possibly can - big and small - to help Ukraine defeat Russia’s invasion. We cannot allow aggression to win.

"I am immensely proud of this contribution and want to extend my gratitude to colleagues within the UK fire and rescue services who have donated equipment and will ensure the convoy’s safe passage.”

FIRE AID’s Chair, David O’Neill MBE, said: “I am delighted that the UK fire sector is once again coming together to support fire fighters in Ukraine. This will be our seventh convoy of equipment since the full-scale war broke out and tragically, we are seeing firefighters being targeted more and more. Just recently three firefighters were killed during an air strike along with an entire fire station and all its equipment.

“We know this donation will help support stations across Ukraine who have lost all their equipment and enable them to continue their vital support to their communities in their hour of need. The impact that our donations are already having in Ukraine is clear, but it provides more than physical protection for firefighters; it shows they are not alone and gives them hope and courage to continue risking their own lives to save others.”

FIRE AID Coordinator in Ukraine, Oksana Romanukha, said:

"As part of Fire Aid, we have been working with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine for more than 10 years now, but never has the need and impact been so obvious as it has been in the last two years. Page 3 of 4 Press Release – Ukraine Convoy 23/04/2024 The efforts of Ukrainian firefighters since the full-scale war began has been nothing short of extraordinary. What makes their resilience and dedication stronger is that they haven't been left alone in this fight and have a reliable shoulder of support from their British colleagues."

Fire Industry Association’s Chief Executive, Ian Moore, said:

“The project goal of enhancing the safety of Ukrainian firefighters has proven pivotal in the success of this team to deliver vital aid once again. The Fire Industry Association take pride in ensuring that the donated equipment mirrors the exceptional standards upheld by the UK fire industry, benefiting fire services globally.”