Fire services donates old engine to Croatia

Sue Dye from Asset Advantage handing the keys to Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann, watched by Watch Manager Kevin Ruane and Captain Jonathan Slegg
Sue Dye from Asset Advantage handing the keys to Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann, watched by Watch Manager Kevin Ruane and Captain Jonathan Slegg

Firefighters in Croatia are to receive a brand new fire engine thanks to a partnership that includes Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The fire service has teamed up with military charity Infrastructure Training and Assistance Projects (ITAP) and asset finance business Asset Advantage, to ensure that fire crews based in Sveti Durd, in Varazdin County have the equipment they need to continue fighting fires in the 50 small communities they serve in northern Croatia.

The fire engine is one that has been used by Nottinghamshire Fire Service since 1998.

It was leased from Asset Advantage and the company has agreed to donate the vehicle back to the Service so that it can be taken to Croatia.

The fire engine will be driven there in April by watch managers Kevin Ruane, Grant Smith and Dave Evans and Driver Trainer Andy MacFarlane, and the cost of the journey is being met by ITAP, which is working with Sveti Durd fire service to rebuild their fire station.

In return for the charity’s generosity, the four fire service employees have agreed to help train 30 Gurkha soldiers in fire fighting skills, which they will pass on to rural communities in Nepal where volunteer fire services are being established.

Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann said: “It is pleasing to see that individuals and organisations are so willing to help out their colleagues in countries less advantageous than our own.”

“What started off as a relatively small project has snowballed as more and more people decided to get on board, and it is thanks to their generosity that we are able to help firefighters in so many communities, not only in Croatia, but in Nepal and other countries too.”

ITAP’s Captain Jonathan Slegg said that Nepal is in a similar position with the skills and resources of its emergency services that Croatia was following the Yugoslav civil war.

“The concepts we have adopted and enhanced since our first mission to the Balkans have ‎proved to be a huge success, but as training capability increases there is a need to uplift kit and equipment,” he said.

“This is where the donation of a new appliance is critical, ensuring the Croatian firefighters can continue to strive towards the levels of excellence that have been internationally recognised in recent years.”

Jonathan Eddy, managing director of Asset Advantage, added: “To be able to donate this fire engine to help establish a much-needed fire station in Varazdin is terrific and something we’re proud of.

“But for the project to also be training retiring Ghurkas in new skills to enable them to perform a welcome and fitting role on their return to Nepal, adds something really special.

“We’re happy to play our small part in this marvellous project and applaud the people involved from the army and fire service for their generosity and foresight.”