International Fire Relief Mission Aids Ukrainian Fire Service with US Donations

22 January 2019

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USA/UA – The International Fire Relief Mission recently finished a week-long visit to the Kherson region of southern Ukraine to complete the first delivery and training phase of humanitarian aid efforts that began more than a year ago.

IFRM collected donated firefighting equipment from across the United States, selected items that were most needed by Ukrainian firefighters as identified by an IFRM fact-finding team, and shipped the materials by sea to Kherson.

IFRM was pleased to see the firefighting equipment arrived as shipped and easily cleared Ukrainian customs, said IFRM President Brian Abbott. This is a clear sign they are serious about improving their firefighting capabilities, he said.

“During our team’s preliminary visit we saw an obvious need for modern turnout gear, wildland firefighting tools and fire prevention and public education materials,” Abbott said. “Thanks to the countless fire departments who donated to us and our corporate partners, we could supply this region’s fire department with exactly what they need.”

IFRM partner Lion made a significant turnout gear donation. In addition, Lion laundered and repaired at its Chicago TotalCare Center all the donated turnout gear destined for Ukraine.

Going this extra step is part of Lion’s promise to the fire service, said Lion CEO Steve Schwartz. “Lion is committed to protecting all firefighters from both the seen and unseen dangers on the fireground,” Schwartz said. “Firefighter cancer risk does not end at the U.S. border, and we could not in good conscious send those Ukrainian firefighters gear that may harbor carcinogens and other contaminants.”

Lion, also donated one of its training products, a new BullsEye digital fire extinguisher training tool and smoke generator. Trainees use the laser-based fire extinguisher to knock down a realistic simulated fire. The smoke generator enhances the training experience.

“On our first visit, we saw the department had the building blocks in place for a community risk reduction program,” Abbott said. “They lacked portable, reusable and realistic training tools to take their prevention efforts to more people. And their firefighters were skeptical when they first saw the device. But once it was set up and they ran through some hands-on training, we didn’t need an interpreter to know they understood how useful it will be.”

In addition to providing the firefighters with instruction on the safe use of the donated structural firefighting equipment, IFRM brought a wildland fire expert to teach classroom and hands-on lessons. The wildland expert is an extension of IFRM’s partnership with the International Association of Wildland Fire.

During the hands-on training, IFRM set a small fire in a wooded area and used red flags to mark fire spread. Ukrainian firefighters responded as they normally would and were given in-evolution and post-evolution instruction from the IFRM expert.

The Ukrainian firefighters learned everything from attack strategies based on fuel and weather to proper hand tool use for cutting firebreaks. IFRM’s expert also toured the site of a recent major wildland fire and offered advice on how it could have been more quickly contained.

“Thanks to our donors and our partners, the IFRM team brought Ukrainian firefighters hungry to improve their skills the tools and knowledge to keep themselves safer and to better protect and educate the public they sever,” Abbott said. “If even one life is saved, this has been a worthwhile effort.”

About the International Fire Relief Mission

IFRM is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that’s mission is to collect donated new and used fire and EMS equipment, deliver it to fire departments in developing nations and educate members of those fire departments on the equipment’s safe and proper use. IFRM is a nonreligious, nonpolitical group dedicated to saving firefighter and civilian lives. IFRM members do not draw a salary and all the money raised is used to fulfilling the group’s mission. IFRM was formed in 2007 by retired emergency-response professionals. For more information, visit its website at and follow the group on Facebook.

About LION

Founded in 1898 and headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, LION is a family-owned company with a legacy and ongoing vision of introducing new products and services designed to ensure the health, safety and performance of the first responders worldwide. From game-changing personal protective equipment (PPE), safe, realistic, and scalable Training Solutions, and professional gear maintenance LION’s mission to make sure that you’re READY FOR ACTION — before, during and after. To learn more, visit

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