West Midlands firefighter shares Ukraine volunteering memories, a year on from February’s invasion in 2022

A West Midlands Fire Service firefighter, Sahfan Khan, recently reflected on his emotional trip to Lviv, Ukraine, where he volunteered for two weeks at the start of the war.



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Published on 24 February 2023

"The feeling of taking shelter in a military bunker will stick with me for the rest of my life".

As a skilled firefighter with extensive knowledge of trauma care, Sahfan, based at Birmingham’s Bournbrook Fire Station, travelled to Ukraine in April 2022 to provide trauma care training to conscripted army recruits.

A skilled trauma care practitioner and firefighter, he has regularly taken part in trauma competitions, both regionally and nationally, including the recent United Kingdom Rescue Organisation – Festival of Rescue competition hosted in the West Midlands by WMFS last summer.

Watching the unfolding invasion of Ukraine at home in February 2022, he decided his skills could be of benefit to Ukrainian communities and he took the decision to travel there himself.

His self-funded, self-organised trip saw him travel to the Polish/Ukraine border with a medic from Scotland, before making the journey to Ukraine’s sixth-largest city by car. Once there, he was based at a military facility where dozens of recruits were taught basic trauma care.

While in Ukraine, Sahfan generously shared his expertise with a diverse range of individuals, including professional athletes and restaurant owners. He also visited Lviv Children’s hospital to donate much-needed medical and trauma equipment gathered in the UK.

Firefighter Sahfan Khan pictured with a group of other instructors and emergency service colleagues in Ukraine.

Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Brown, reflecting on the work of Sahfan and others said:

“As a service, we’ve donated equipment, vehicles and supplies to Ukraine, in particular, to support their firefighting teams on the ground as well as the wider humanitarian efforts.

“I’m immensely proud of all the WMFS staff who have volunteered to support Ukraine, either by collecting donations and activities closer to home, or those who have bravely volunteered to drive vehicles and equipment or aid directly in the country in their own time, such as Sahfan.

“These selfless individuals are a credit to their families, our communities and the wider service.”

West Midlands Fire Service had supported the efforts in Ukraine previously, sending supplies, equipment and two fire engines, as part of the wider national humanitarian response to the crisis there.

Watch the video, where Sahfan reflects on his time spent in Ukraine, and how he was touched by the courage and kindness shown by those he was spending time with.