07 August 2013
This year’s entry into the Extrication Challenge for a Macedonian national team not only signalled another important step forward for the rescue skills and technical development of firefighters in the Macedonian fire and rescue service. It demonstrated the opportunities and necessity of successful partnership between Operation Florian, UKRO and sponsorship from Vimpex when delivering international development projects.
Partnerships between various stakeholders, including Ballyclare (Ex Cosalt), PBI Products, WL Gore & Associates, Supply plus and many more fire sector providers, has been an absolutely essential component within this project bringing tremendous added value to achieving the overall objectives.
Since 2007 Operation Florian has been actively working in partnership with local municipal fire and rescue services and with the national agencies to re-develop and re-equipped the fire service. When Operation Florian first began the project in 2007 the fire service in Macedonia was in state of drastic decline with a poorly equipped and functioning capacity and serious under funding issues.
To address these issues over the past 6 years Operation Florian has donated 17 fire equipped fire appliances and over 25 sets of hydraulic rescue equipment. Within this timeframe Operation Florian has trained over 350 firefighters in a range of key skills to begin to re-establish a level of technical skills and knowledge to ensure safe working and operational practices. A further commitment by Operation Florian has been to ensure that a momentum of development can become self sustaining within the service.
It is always difficult in these circumstances to value the absolute benefits in the long term. However, for those involved in overseas projects actually measuring and evaluating success is a challenge but people will always be able to provide anyone anecdotal stories of success of or within a project. But when this ultimately means saving lives involved in a road traffic collision what more can you say.