The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with state fire departments and non-governmental organizations, implements projects for the development of cooperation between firefighters as part of the Polish Aid program in the Eastern Partnership countries.
For many years, state institutions, including the National Headquarters of the State Fire Service, regional fire services, mostly from Krakow and Rzeszow, the Polish Union of Volunteer Fire Brigades, the Main School of the Fire Service in Warsaw and the Central School of the State Fire Service in Czestochowa, have been involved in bringing assistance to Georgia and Ukraine.
It is difficult to find an oblast in Ukraine, which has not benefitted from the assistance of Polish fire services. Over the past ten years, more than 40 projects have been implemented for the total amount of PLN 10 million. One of the greatest achievements of cooperation is the co-creation by Poland of the first training center in Ukraine in Lviv and the handover of the first multitasking rescue simulator in Ukraine, enabling training of firefighters in real working conditions. Since 2014, Polish fire service have been supporting the reform of Georgian state crisis management units.
Polish Aid supports the establishment and development of fire units and specialised training systems, co-finances the establishment of training centres, and provides training stations for rescue exercises. It runs specialist training for instructors guiding future firefighters and trains firefighters in road, water and chemical rescue. Polish firefighters promote volunteer fire brigades among youth and help set them up. Furthermore, Polish Aid delivers protective equipment for rescuers. Joint exercises allow to exchange experiences and synchronise rescue procedures by implementing European models of internal security and the protection of populations against the effects of man-made and natural disasters and threats caused by human factor. All activities aim to help improve the quality of rescue training and fire service management.
Under the Polish Aid programme, Polish non-governmental organisations support setting up and expanding fire brigades and specialist training system in Ukraine. In 2018, experts from the iHelp Institute foundation trained firefighters from rescue units in Ukraine’s Zakarpattia Oblast in road rescue and provided them with rescue equipment. The Polish-Ukrainian cooperation laid the foundations for the development of road rescue in the region.
Polish development assistance responds to the needs of neighbouring countries. Its focus on sharing knowledge, supporting specialist training and training centres is designed to improve the quality of firefighter training and fire service management. Poland also donates specialized equipment so that rescuers can stay safe while saving lives.