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    Training Ukrainian Firefighters in Olsztyn

    In Olsztyn, a remarkable training program for volunteer firefighters from the Rivne Oblast in Ukraine recently came to a close. The firefighters had arrived in Poland as part of the project “Training Ukrainian firefighters – saving Ukrainian lives,” funded through a grant competition by the Central European Initiative. The Central European Initiative, functioning since 1989, is a forum for intergovernmental cooperation among countries in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.

    The primary goal of the project was to provide comprehensive training that prepared the participants for firefighting and rescue operations, equipment handling and maintenance, as well as efficient unit management.

    The intensive training was packed with various firefighting knowledge-related activities. Volunteers from the Rivne Oblast underwent training in a smoke chamber, participated in exercises involving pneumatic rescue equipment, and learned to operate equipment used in search and rescue operations, which has seen increased utilization in Ukraine after Russian attacks on towns and villages. The participants also took a keen interest in learning about combustion engine vehicles, hybrid and electric vehicles, and rescue techniques for road accidents. The training program was complemented by field visits to Volunteer Fire Departments operating in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship.

    As part of the project, the participants received personal protective equipment, including helmets, gloves, firefighting balaclavas, and boots, to enhance their safety during rescue operations in Ukraine.

    “Gustaw Marek Brzezin, the Marshal of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, stated that “The Rivne Oblast is a pioneer in establishing volunteer fire brigades across Ukraine. The project’s implementation provides an opportunity to share our extensive experience from the long-standing operation of Polish volunteer fire departments. We hope that the knowledge gained in Olsztyn will contribute to supporting the process of establishing Volunteer Fire Departments network in Ukraine.”

    The project was prepared and executed by the International Cooperation Department of the Marshal’s Office in Olsztyn, in collaboration with the Regional Branch of the Association of Volunteer Fire Brigades of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship and the Provincial Headquarters of the State Fire Service in Olsztyn. The latter provided the training center, designed the training program, and engaged its specialists.

    The total value of the project amounted to 17,380 euros, with a grant of 9,500 euros provided by the Central European Initiative Cooperation Fund.

    This initiative was yet another accomplishment achieved through the joint efforts of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship and the Rivne Oblast, who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their formal cooperation in 2023. This project not only strengthens the bonds between the two regions but also reflects the spirit of solidarity and cooperation among neighboring countries in the face of challenges such as firefighting and rescue operations. The knowledge and skills acquired by the Ukrainian firefighters in Poland will undoubtedly contribute to enhancing firefighting capabilities in their homeland and ultimately save lives in Ukraine.

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