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Winnipeg firefighters donate gear to overseas colleagues in need

Click to play video: 'Firefighters Without Borders Canada receives equipment from City of Winnipeg' Firefighters Without Borders Canada receives equipment from City of Winnipeg
Shelley Brown, Coordinator for Firefighters Without Borders Canada, spoke on Friday about the impact of safety equipment donated by the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service. After 10 years, personal protective gear is decommissioned even if it is still usable. Brown added that donating equipment extends the gear's life cycle, keeps it out of landfills, and helps protect "brothers and sisters" around the world in developing countries who may not have access to safe personal protective equipment – Sep 23, 2022

Winnipeg firefighters are hoping their used gear can help their colleagues in need in developing countries.

As part of an arrangement with Firefighters Without Borders, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) donated truckloads of personal protective equipment Friday morning — including uniforms, helmets, boots, and more.

The equipment, still in usable condition, is headed for British Columbia, where it will then be distributed to countries in need.

Shelley Brown, coordinator for Firefighters Without Borders Canada, and a retired member of the WFPS, said the city’s firefighters have a 10-year cap on their gear before it becomes decommissioned according to National Fire Protection Association standards.

Read more: Sick time, overtime skyrocket for Winnipeg paramedics and firefighters

“We’ve done campaigns through Firefighters Without Borders to the Philippines, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Brazil … we’ve gone just about everywhere,” Brown said.

“Where there’s a request or a need, we will fulfill it.”

Brown said as firefighters’ gear expires, it’s dropped off at the city’s fire training academy on McPhillips Street for donation. The WFPS has been working with local movers Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving over the past two years to transport the donated gear from Winnipeg — and some rural Manitoba fire departments — to its destination in Vancouver.

“We store it (at the academy) until we can have the kind generosity of these drivers to take it to the depot, and then it’s distributed all around the world,” she said.

“They go through everything and they see who needs what in what country and then it goes into containers and it’s shipped out.”

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