The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is supporting a charity as it helps set up a desperately needed fire and rescue service in a Romanian city.Fire and rescue

Operation Florian, which is a UK based charity, is supported locally by both full time and retained members of the Island’s Fire and Rescue Service. The charity works to promote the protection of life through the provision of equipment and training for the improvement of fire and rescue capability amongst worldwide communities in need.

As part of a project to support colleagues in Romania, The Department of Home Affairs has given approval for Chief Fire Officer Brian Draper to donate a Manx appliance to the City of Oradea and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is sponsoring its travel from the Isle of Man to Liverpool.

The vehicle has left the Island on its long journey to Romania via France, Holland, Germany, Austria and Hungary and is being driven and delivered by local firefighters Andrew Collard from Port Erin and David Pendlebury from Douglas.

Community Safety Officer Danny Dooley and retired Station Officer John Boyde from Laxey will be meeting their colleagues in Budapest and, along with other firefighters from Humberside, will then travel to Oradea, which has a population of approximately 250,000. Training for the local firefighters will include areas such as driving and pump operation of the vehicle, ladder work, breathing apparatus techniques and procedures for dealing with road traffic collisions and other non-fire emergencies.

Danny Dooley said: “The firefighters out there are as keen as mustard but they don’t have the equipment or training to back them up. We know this appliance is going to save lives in its first week. When they receive any fire engine or equipment it’s like Christmas for them. It’s hard to describe. They are totally overjoyed and can’t believe they are getting a decent Fire Appliance.”

The UK Fire Service humanitarian charity is run purely by volunteers and any members of the Fire & Rescue services can help. Assistance for the insurance of the vehicle has been provided by a retired firefighter from Northern Ireland. Funds for the charity are made up from donations and other fund raising events. 

At present, the rural districts of Romania have no local response capability and many fires and incidents result in either the loss of lives or homes because the City services, even if they had sufficient equipment and manpower, cannot reach the area in time.  Approximately a year ago the Romanian Government recognised there was a need to set up rural services and gave this responsibility to the Mayor of each region.  However, no funding for uniform, equipment or training has been provided and each region is struggling to provide even the most basic of services.

The Isle of Man has responded to this desperate need following a visit to the Island by the Mayor of Girişu de Criş, Ioan Paşca, who met with Chief Minister Tony Brown and also had discussions with the chairman of the Overseas Aid Committee, Mr. George Waft (MLC).

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: “We are delighted to be able to show our support for such a worthwhile charity. A Fire and Rescue Service for every community is vital and invaluable.”

This project will save many lives and much property in Romania which would otherwise be lost.