Firefighters take on 1,600-mile journey to deliver fire engines abroad

Firefighters from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service will be setting off on a journey across Europe to North Macedonia this weekend as part of the Fire Service Humanitarian Aid project.

The group will be delivering three fire engines to support firefighters in the towns of Novaci, Kamanicia and Sveti Nikole in carrying out their duties.

The fire engines are provided from a partnership with FireAid and used to serve in Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, until they were withdrawn from the service in 2019. They are fully kitted out with equipment and carry around 150 sets of fire kit – including boots and helmets.

The 1,600-mile journey will see the group travel through France, Italy, and Albania, with the hope of arriving in Macedonia by Wednesday (17 November).

Once they arrive, the group will carry out four days of training with firefighters in Macedonia, familiarising them with the fire engines and they equipment they carry, before flying back home on 21 November.

The West Sussex firefighters on the trip are:

  • Joe Cullum
  • Kathleen Port
  • Lee Buckingham
  • Pete Langridge
  • Roy Barraclough
  • Simon Boyling

They will also be joined by former Station Manager Tim Eady and George Wippich, a Watch Manager from East Sussex.

Speaking of the project, Station Manager Roy Barraclough, said: “Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of carrying out many international missions through the humanitarian charity, Operation Florian.

“Delivering specialist equipment abroad and being able to see first-hand how much the communities will benefit from it is truly priceless.

“In the fire service we’re one big family – no matter where abouts in the world you live – so, I am over the moon that COVID-19 restrictions have allowed us to restart our charity work, meet new colleagues and above all else, do what we love most – keep people safe.”

You can follow the teams progress and support the project on Facebook.