How Winnipeg’s firefighters are donating equipment to fire departments around the world

Winnipeg’s firefighters are sending another truckload of their gently-used equipment overseas to help fire departments in need around the world.

It is part of a campaign to help Firefighters Without Borders (FWB) distribute firefighting equipment that can’t be used anymore in Canada to developing countries worldwide.

The Winnipeg Paramedic Fire Service (WFPS) follows standards set out by the National Fire Protection Association, which stipulate that firefighting personal protective gear – such as helmets, jackets and other clothing –  be decommissioned after 10 years of use, even if it is still in good usable condition.

“We follow protocols here and we have time limitations on how long the gear can be used, but other countries are not following those protocols, so we are able to make sure that everybody is covered, so brothers and sisters all over the world are taken care of,” said volunteer coordinator and retired firefighter Shelley Brown.

“What this does is makes sure that not only firefighters globally are being protected and have the equipment to do their jobs,” said Brown, “but it also is very good environmentally because it keeps the gear out of landfill, it has life after life.”

The gear is being transported with the help of Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving, which is donating a truck for a second straight year. The equipment is being taken from Winnipeg and other rural Manitoba fire departments to Vancouver, where it is received by FWB Canada. The equipment is then sent overseas as needed.

“We’ve done campaigns through Firefighters Without Borders to the Philippines, Chile, Dominican Republic, Brazil,” said Brown.  “We’ve gone just about everywhere. When there’s a request or a need, we will fulfill it.”

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