Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) has recently donated approximately 4,500 items of legacy firefighting equipment to firefighters in the City of Manila in the Philippines, through Operation Florian.

Operation Florian - named after Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters - was established in the UK in 1995.  The charity promotes protection of life worldwide by providing equipment and training to improve firefighting, first aid and rescue capabilities.  After taking donations of equipment to countries worldwide, Operation Florian teams stay with local fire crews to provide training and support to ensure they get the most from what they deliver.

On Thursday, December 7, team members from Operation Florian visited MAWWFRS’s Earlswood Fire Training Centre to receive a donation of legacy firefighting clothing, no longer worn by Service crew members.  MAWWFRS and Operation Florian team members filled an entire 40ft shipping container with approximately 4,500 items of equipment, including tunics, leggings, flash hoods and helmets.

Legacy firefighting equipment MAWWFRS
The equipment is no longer worn by Service crew members (MAWWFRS)

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Coordinator, Nick McAllister, who was responsible for organising the donation on behalf of MAWWFRS, said: “The Service is very happy to be able to donate their legacy structural PPE to a worthwhile cause. By working with the team at Operation Florian, we have been able to recycle our legacy structural PPE, which will not only reduce our environmental impact, but will also ensure that it will continue to make a difference to the firefighters and, ultimately, the people of the Philippines.”

Receiving the donation on behalf of Operation Florian was one of the charity’s trustees, Roy Barraclough, who said: "We’re very grateful to MAWWFRS for this donation of end-of-life equipment. Firefighters in the City of Manila lack the most basic of firefighting kit, so these items will ultimately save lives, not only of those involved in fires and other emergencies, but also of the firefighters."

The container of legacy MAWWFRS firefighting kit is due to arrive in the Philippines in early 2024 and will be distributed to fire and rescue services across the country.  The City of Manila is the world’s most densely populated city and its fire and rescue service is far less developed than those in the UK, with firefighters often having to respond to incidents with no protective clothing.  The donation from MAWWFRS will significantly improve their safety and emergency response provision.