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IFRM sends donated gear to Papua New Guinea

The International Fire Relief Mission (IFRM) has sent fire and EMS equipment donated by fire departments across the US to the Ukarumpa Fire Department in Papua New Guinea
The IFRM has sent donated firefighter gear to a Papua New Guinea fire dept.

IFRM sends equipment donated by fire departments across US

In late June, the International Fire Relief Mission (IFRM) sent one pallet of donated fire and EMS equipment to the Ukarumpa Fire Department in Papua New Guinea. Later this year, IFRM will send a team of fire and EMS professionals to train members of the fire department on the safe and proper use of the equipment. IFRM is a nonprofit organization that collects used fire and EMS equipment and delivers it to needy fire departments in developing nations.

The equipment was generously donated by fire departments across the United States, with most of it coming from fire departments in Minnesota and the U.S. Air Force base in Duluth, Iowa. The majority of the equipment shipped was turnout gear, aircraft rescue and firefighting gear, and SCBA air packs and masks. IFRM also sent first-responder equipment such as AED units and CPR training dummies.

"In their letter to us, Ukarumpa's fire chief said the department was operating without any SCBA, boots, helmets or gloves," said Ron Gruening, IFRM president. Gruening is a retired paramedic and an active volunteer firefighter. "When a department asks us for help, we assess its greatest needs and fill those to the best of our ability. We sometimes take for granted how good we have it here in the United States. But often, fire and EMS equipment that no longer meets U.S. regulatory requirements is a profound upgrade to what many firefighters in developing nations are using today. This equipment immediately makes the firefighters' jobs safer and improves their chances of saving civilian lives. What may seem like a simple act of recycling to us dramatically changes their lives."

Later this year, Gruening and his team will spend two weeks in Papua New Guinea teaching the Ukarumpa firefighters how to safely and effectively use the newly donated gear. IFRM is preparing other shipments to Roatan, Peru, and Bolivia. Those shipments also will be accompanied by on-the-ground training.

"This global recession has made the need for fire and EMS gear greater than ever," Gruening said. "But through the generous support of American fire departments and our corporate partners like Rosenbauer, FRC, Lion Apparel, and GearGrid, we've been able to help those who risk their lives helping others."

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