A firefighter is leading the way to provide kit for those who put themselves in danger with only the most basic equipment for protection.
Cosham firefighter Storms Menri has launched a fundraising drive to send redundant Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) kit to Ghana.
Firefighters in the African country have very limited access to protective clothing and often turn out to jobs without the equipment needed to keep themselves safe.
In contrast, Storms and his HIWFRS colleagues are never without their personal protective equipment, including fire-proof jackets and trousers, thick-soled boots, helmets and gloves, to keep them safe.
Storms, who used to serve in the British Army and is still a Reservist with the Princess of Wales’s Royal regiment, saw the plight of Ghanaian firefighters first-hand during a training exercise in the country.
He’s now teamed up with charity FIRE AID to get a shipping container full of old HIWFRS clothing delivered to Ghana.
And he’ll kick-start his fundraising efforts by completing a 10-mile run each day for seven days to represent the 70 mile distance around the Isle of Wight’s coastal path.
“I was out in Ghana with the Army in December and was doing some work with the fire service. The kit that they use is so basic and that is a very scary feeling.
“I feel very proud of being a firefighter and we are very lucky here to have all the tools and training we need to make the job as safe as possible.
“In Ghana, the fire service turns up for a job knowing what to do and wanting to help, but not having the kit to do it with.”
The father-of-three now needs to raise at least £8,000 which will pay for the container to be transported.
“If you didn’t have a passion for firefighting in Ghana, you wouldn’t do the job. I know that anything we can do to help will be so appreciated.
“If we are able to get this done, I will be so proud.”
In time, Storms hopes to return to Ghana with the United Kingdom Rescue Operation to provide firefighting and medical training for firefighters in the country.
FIRE AID co-ordinator, Claire Hoyland, said:
“First responders in many developing countries endeavour to save lives every day while they themselves work without basic personal protective equipment.
“Not only are they risking their own lives every day, but they are unable to provide proper care to victims in need which, in turn, means lives are lost that could have been saved.
“FIRE AID donates decommissioned but still perfectly useable fire and rescue equipment alongside professional training to firefighters in desperate need, saving this valuable equipment from scrap and allowing it to go on and save more lives.”
To support Storms, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/storms-menrifireaidghana