Why have you chosen to take the vehicles to Serbia and not to another Country?

In September 2006 Station Manager Steve Logan, who is the Station Commander at Caerphilly & Rhymney Fire Stations did a Youth Working qualification with Caerphilly Unitary Authority's Youth Services department. On the course was a Scout Leader from Caerphilly who had recently returned from Serbia with a group of Scouts. He went on to say that during this visit to Serbia, he had visited a Fire Station to find that the Fire Engines were nearly 30 years old. And so the seed was sown. As a result of this, Station Manager Logan and two colleagues from Caerphilly went to Serbia in March 2007 and found that most aspects of the Serbian Fire Services were in need of assistance. It was then decided to try and help the Serbian Fire Service to improve the service that they provided to the communities that they served.

What equipment has already been taken to Serbia?

Since that initial visit, Steve and his team have visited Serbia on 14 occasions taking various items of equipment from the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service. The equipment provided includes 93 Gas Tight Chemical suits, over 300 Breathing Apparatus sets and cylinders, approximately 30 sets of hydraulic rescue equipment, over 300 sets of protective fire kit and helmets and various other items used at road traffic collisions, lines and torches.Since September 2010 23 fire engines have been exported to Serbia and these will be located all across the Country.

How did the Fire Engines get to Serbia?

The first fire engine to be donated to Serbia was collected from Caerphilly Fire Station in September 2010. This Volvo Fire Engine was transported to Serbia by a Serbian Transport Company called Milsped.

Between 19th and 23rd October 2011, six Fire Engines and a support vehicle were driven in convoy across Europe to Serbia. This journey took the Blazing to Serbia team from Caerphilly Castle in South Wales through England and out of the UK via Euro Tunnel. The convoy then travelled through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Hungary before entering Serbia on day five.

Milsped then collected another truck in January 2012 and a Transport Company called AGS European kindly transported an additional four fire engines to Serbia in February 2012.

The second convoy of six Fire Engines left Wales on the morning of Friday 5th October 2012 and arrived in Serbia on the afternoon of Tuesday 9th October and a third convoy of five trucks drove to Serbia in July 2014.

How has Blazing to Serbia been received in Serbia?

The Blazing to Serbia project has been very well received in Serbia, especially by the Firefighters, and the Blazing to Serbia team have made some great friends there. The fact the Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic attended the Official handing over ceremony in 2012, and also attended in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister in 2011, indicates the level of appreciation for this project.

In light of the economic climate, would it have been more beneficial for the vehicles to be sold and the money put back in to the Fire Service pot?

It is ethically more sound to give them a second working life in a developing Country like Serbia where they will provide another 15-20 years service. The scrap value of these appliances is also very small, so weighed up against the environmental impact of scrapping the vehicles it makes more sense to give them an extension to their working life by donating them to Serbia. However, the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service are about to sell two ‘end of life’ fire engines in order to ascertain the current market value. A decision will then be made whether to sell future assets, or to continue donating them to Serbia.

How is Blazing to Serbia funded?

Due to the substantial cost of transporting or driving fire engines across Europe to Serbia, the team tries to get organisations and companies to sponsor individual trucks. When this is not possible the small group of volunteers carry out various activities, which include the following:

How else is Blazing to Serbia helping?

Blazing to Serbia was established to assist and support the Serbian Fire Services with vehicles and equipment, but is now also working with the Serbia Red Cross, two dog rescue centres, the Ruma Rotary Club and various schools in both Wales & Serbia.

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