On April 6 the Strathmore Fire Department announced its donation of several retired sets of structural firefighting gear to the Firefighter Aid Ukraine program.
The idea being for the department to do their part in helping with relief efforts surrounding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
David Sturgeon, fire chief and director of emergency management for the Town of Strathmore, said when the idea was brought forward, he was all for it, so long as they had the equipment to spare.
“One of my captains was the one to bring it up. I guess there was a whole bunch of fire departments getting together, going through their gear, identifying (items) that they could potentially donate,” said Sturgeon. “Obviously, through that donation (the equipment) has to be usable, so you’re not just donating stuff that potentially wouldn’t work for them.”
The Strathmore Fire Department sent in 10 sets of Turnout Gear into Calgary to be cleaned and inspected before being donated.
The equipment, though operational, was aging out of the designated use age. Sturgeon said he was more than happy to see it go somewhere to get some more mileage.
“For us in North America, we have a little bit different requirement. So all that means is that our (equipment) has a certain age limit, no matter the condition, it will age out and we can’t use it anymore,” said Sturgeon. “Over in Europe, they don’t have that same requirement, so as long as it was still in good condition then it can be used over there where it wasn’t necessarily usable here anymore.”
Sturgeon added several fire departments across Alberta have made donations to the relief efforts – something he hopes makes a difference for the folks overseas.
“Some of the larger cities were on it a bit quicker and with our size, we just had to make sure that we could afford to send that stuff. We had to really go through and make sure that we had stuff that they could use and then that we could spare it,” said Sturgeon. “As we’re watching it on television and the atrocities that are happening … you kind of feel helpless on this side of the world. I think it was just a small thing that we could do, but our crews are proud of doing it.”
Upon inspection, the donated equipment will have had to present no rips and tears and the retardant material had to have not rubbed off whatsoever.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times