Published 23 April 2024

Largest UK Fire and Rescue Service convoy to deliver vital equipment for heroic Ukrainian firefighters

Minister with representatives from NFCC, National Resilience, FIRE AID, Fire Industry Association, and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

Largest UK Fire and Rescue Service convoy to deliver vital equipment for heroic Ukrainian firefighters

  • A convoy of life saving fire and rescue service equipment, coordinated by FIRE AID, will begin its journey to Ukraine today to deliver vital equipment to Ukrainian firefighters.
  • 33 fire and rescue vehicles, carrying more than 2,800 pieces of equipment, donated by UK Fire and Rescue Services and supported by the Home Office, will depart from Kent on Tuesday 23 April.
  • Ukrainian fire services have been decimated with 396 fire houses destroyed and 91 firefighters killed.
  • National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Chair, Mark Hardingham highlights the “sheer strength and resilience” on display by Ukrainian firefighters and said the collective efforts to deliver this support to them “demonstrates the very best of UK fire and rescue services.”

The largest convoy from UK fire and rescue services to date will next week deliver essential firefighting equipment to Ukrainian fire and rescue services.

The scale of this convoy is unprecedented, comprising 33 fire and rescue vehicles, two mechanics vehicles, and an HGV carrying over 2,800 items of surplus equipment. Amongst the 30 fire and rescue vehicles are 20 fire engines, eight incident command units, one aerial ladder platform, and one 4×4 vehicle.

The Home Office – working in partnership with FIRE AID, NFCC National Resilience, English and Welsh fire and rescue services (FRSs), and the Fire Industry Association – has sponsored the delivery of the equipment. It adds to the 89 surplus fire and rescue vehicles and over 190,000 items of equipment to Ukraine via six previous road convoys and a rail shipment since the full-scale war began in 2022.

Working with FIRE AID, English and Welsh FRSs have donated all the appliances, kit and equipment, amongst which are ladders, breathing apparatus sets, boats, fire and water PPE and safe working at height kit. 100 volunteers, drawn from FRSs and Fire Aid, will participate in the convoy.

Ukrainian fire and rescue services have been decimated by the impact of the war and the demands placed upon them have skyrocketed. To date, 396 firehouses have been destroyed, with 92 more now in occupied territory. 1676 fire vehicles have been destroyed. 91 firefighters have been killed, with a further 349 injured, and five are held in captivity. Meanwhile, the work of Ukrainian firefighters has grown significantly since the start of the war, with approximately 217,000 buildings destroyed or damaged, 18,270 fire eliminated and 4,975 people rescued.*

National Fire Chiefs Council Chair, Mark Hardingham, said:

“We have witnessed the sheer strength and resilience of Ukrainian firefighters since the day the war began. With the war continuing and the task before them increasingly challenging, the UK and international firefighter community will continue to provide support however we can.

“The efforts to bring this equipment together, and get it to where it’s needed most, demonstrates the very best of UK fire and rescue services.”

Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire Chris Philp MP said:

“Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine has taken a toll on the brave people of Ukraine’s fire and rescue services, who have not just seen their equipment and buildings decimated, but also led to the loss of many heroic firefighter’s lives.

“We are now in the third year of this senseless conflict and today’s donation shows our determination to support the people of Ukraine remains as strong as ever. Every western country must do everything they possibly can – big and small – to help Ukraine defeat Russia’s invasion.  We cannot allow aggression to win.

“I am immensely proud of this contribution and want to extend my gratitude to colleagues within the UK fire and rescue services who have donated equipment and will ensure the convoy’s safe passage.”

FIRE AID’s Chair, David O’Neill MBE, said:

“I am delighted that the UK fire sector is once again coming together to support fire fighters in Ukraine. This will be our seventh convoy of equipment since the full-scale war broke out and tragically, we are seeing firefighters being targeted more and more. Just recently three firefighters were killed during an air strike along with an entire fire station and all its equipment.

“We know this donation will help support stations across Ukraine who have lost all their equipment and enable them to continue their vital support to their communities in their hour of need. The impact that our donations are already having in Ukraine is clear, but it provides more than physical protection for firefighters; it shows they are not alone and gives them hope and courage to continue risking their own lives to save others.”

FIRE AID Coordinator in Ukraine, Oksana Romanukha, said:

“As part of Fire Aid, we have been working with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine for more than 10 years now, but never has the need and impact been so obvious as it has been in the last two years. The efforts of Ukrainian firefighters since the full-scale war began has been nothing short of extraordinary. What makes their resilience and dedication stronger is that they haven’t been left alone in this fight and have a reliable shoulder of support from their British colleagues.”

Fire Industry Association’s Chief Executive, Ian Moore, said:

The project goal of enhancing the safety of Ukrainian firefighters has proven pivotal in the success of this team to deliver vital aid once again. The Fire Industry Association take pride in ensuring that the donated equipment mirrors the exceptional standards upheld by the UK fire industry, benefiting fire services globally.”


Notes to Editors

  • * Figures correct as of 10th April 2024.
  • Representatives from the National Fire Chiefs Council, firefighters and other personnel taking part in the convoy are available for interview on the afternoon of Monday 22nd April at Ashford Fire Station, Kent. The location should not be published in any media. Please contact the press office for specific timings and to arrange an interview.
  • The convoy has been organised through a partnership of 15 fire and rescue services from England and Wales, National Fire Chiefs Council, National Resilience, Home Office, Fire Aid, and the Fire Industry Association.
  • Over 100 volunteers from FRSs and FIRE AID will take part in the convoy.
  • 15 fire and rescues services from England and Wales are participating in the convoy, these are:
    • Bedfordshire
    • Cheshire
    • Cleveland
    • Hereford and Worcester
    • London
    • Merseyside
    • Mid & West Wales
    • North Wales
    • Northumberland
    • South Wales
    • South Yorkshire
    • Staffordshire
    • Surrey
    • Tyne & Wear
    • West Midlands
  • The convoy will deliver over 2,800 pieces of equipment including ladders, breathing apparatus sets, firefighting and ancillary equipment, road traffic collision equipment, boats, fire and water PPE, and safe working at height kit.
  • The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is a charity and an independent membership association and the professional voice of the UK Fire and Rescue Service. NFCC supports fire and rescue services to help them to save lives and keep their local communities safe.
  • National Resilience is responsible for the mobilisation, coordination and monitoring of National Resilience (NR) assets in response to significant, serious or catastrophic incidents. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service assumed the lead authority role for National Resilience on behalf of the Home Office in 2016.
  • FIRE AID operates as umbrella organisation of fire and rescue NGOs carrying out humanitarian projects in low and middle-income countries. Its members deliver ethical and sustainable donations of fire and rescue equipment and training to emergency services. Since 2014, FIRE AID members have delivered more than 235 fire appliances, 22 water rescue boats, 10 ambulances, 8 4×4 response vehicles, two Incident Response Units, more than 5,000 sets of Breathing Apparatus, and thousands of sets of PPE as well as training over 5,000 firefighters in over 50 countries worldwide. This includes 11 fire engines and other equipment donated to fire services in Ukraine pre the Russian full-scale invasion.
  • FIRE AID donations consist of de-commissioned or surplus equipment from the UK which has come to the end of its policy shelf life but is still safe and perfectly useable. Every donation is serviced and checked before it is deployed. In the past, such equipment would have been sent for scrap, but through FIRE AID, many items are being reused and re-purposed around the world in countries where they are vitally needed. All donations typically include an element of familiarisation training. There will be a short training session for Polish and Ukrainian firefighters when the convoy reaches its end destination. There are 250+ firefighters in Ukraine who have received training in the past on a Train the Trainer basis who should be able to offer support.

For more information, please contact

Minister Philp meeting volunteers participating in the convoy.
Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philp MP, with NFCC Vice Chair and Chief Fire Officer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Phil Garrigan.
Minister Philp addressing volunteers UK fire and rescue services, FIRE AID and the Fire Industry Association.