Firefighter reflects on Ukraine convoy experience after returning home

A West Midlands Fire Service firefighter, who drove 2,000 km to deliver vital fire vehicles and equipment to Ukraine, reflects on the his experience.

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Published on 3 May 2024

A firefighter with West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) who drove to Poland with vehicle and equipment donations for Ukranian colleagues has shared his reflections after returning home to England.

Six staff members joined firefighting colleagues from across the UK, to travel almost 2,000 kilometres to the Polish border. They delivered 30 fire and rescue vehicles and more than 2,800 pieces of vital equipment for use by Ukrainian colleagues.

Amongst the donated vehicles were 20 fire engines, including two from WMFS. One was in service at both Bournbrook and Northfield Stations, the other at Coventry. Eight incident command units, an aerial ladder platform and a 4×4 vehicle were also part of the support package.

The Home Office, Fire Aid, National Fire Chiefs Council, Fire Industry Association and English and Welsh fire and rescue services supported the project.

WMFS drivers take selfie on ferry to France with equipment for Ukraine
UK Firefighters receive a talk in Polish fire station after equipment donation

Sam Wickett, Watch Manager at Dudley Fire Station and one of the volunteer drivers, said: “The reason I volunteered, and will continue to do so, can be summed up in one statement shared during the convoy.

“The fire engine I drove for WMFS has been in use for 22 years. In that time, it gave our crews the means to save around 50 lives. It’s likely it will do that in its first week in Ukraine.”

Sam Wickett

Watch Manager

"
We all joined the fire service to help people. If that isn't one of the best feelings, I don't know what is.
"

Crew Manager Craig Donnelly coordinated this latest WMFS contribution. He said: “The convoy was a real success. It’s so rewarding to know we have given to people in need our support.

“I’d had contact from people who have been directly affected by the war in Ukraine, and know the lengths people have gone to to keep loved ones safe.

“Receiving messages from people thanking WMFS after the convoy has been really touching.”