The International Fire Relief Mission received a large shipment of donated fire-fighting equipment yesterday at Rosenbauer America’s manufacturing plant in Lyons, S.D. This equipment will be delivered to firefighters in developing countries who try to protect their communities with obsolete or, often, no fire-fighting gear.
Members of the Wyoming Fire Chiefs Association collected and delivered a 20-foot-long shipping container packed with turnout gear, SCBA bottles and packs, and an assortment of other equipment. In addition, Rosenbauer America made a sizable donation, some of which will outfit a previously donated fire truck that will be sent to the Republic of Georgia.
“The generosity of Wayne, Harold and Helen Boer of Rosenbauer and Chief Craig Haslam of the Fremont County (Wyo.) Fire District is incredible,” says International Fire Relief Mission President Ron Gruening. IFRM is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that delivers donated fire and EMS equipment to firefighters in developing countries. IFRM also dispatches a team to those countries to demonstrate the proper and safe use of that equipment. “We have several appeals for help that are pending. This donation will allow us to fulfill those requests and keep those firefighters safer.”
Rosenbauer America agreed to open its facilities for the donation transfer to save IFRM transportation costs. In addition, Rosenbauer gave IFRM two badly needed ladders—one 35-foot extension ladder and one 14-foot roof ladder—and an assortment of gear to outfit firefighting rigs, including foam systems, tools, hose reels, scene lights and battery chargers.
“It was the least we could do,” said Rosenbauer America’s President Harold Boer. “We have been partnered with IFRM for the past few years now, and we are happy to lend a hand whenever we can. IFRM is a great organization that helps our fellow firefighters all over the world, and Rosenbauer is proud to be a part of it.”
Part of the Rosenbauer donation will outfit a pumper donated by Dodge Center (Minn.) Fire Department that is destined for a small city in the Republic of Georgia. IFRM team members visited Georgia nearly a year ago and were shocked by the deplorable condition of its two apparatus. Worse yet, the department had only one working ladder. With Rosenbauer’s gift, the apparatus will arrive in Georgia with a full complement of ladders and tools.
“In addition to trying to protect their city’s residents, that Georgian fire department also has to protect refugee camps and a vast wildland area,” Gruening says. “This equipment will be a game-changer for that department.”
For his part, Chief Haslam collected unneeded gear from his department and sought similar donations from across Wyoming. This equipment is too old to meet current U.S. fire-fighting safety standards, yet still has many years of service life left in it. Rather than finding its way into a landfill, the equipment will now serve to make firefighters and their civilian populations safer.
“These donations from Wyoming will be used to equip firefighters in countries that we visit in 2012,” Gruening says. “One of the most common problems we find worldwide is the need for turnout gear and SCBA. The Wyoming fire departments can be assured that the gear they no longer need will greatly improve the safety of their fire-fighting brothers and sisters in impoverished areas around the world.”
For more on the International Fire Relief Mission, visit www.ifrm2007.com.