A South Yorkshire firefighter is travelling to Moldova to train the country’s fire crews in how to rescue casualties involved in road traffic collisions.
Steve North, based at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s training centre in Handsworth, is flying to Moldova as part of a World Rescue Organisation team due to spend five days training firefighters in the Eastern European country on the latest rescue techniques.
Firefighter North, one of the UK’s leading specialists in road traffic collision rescue, has previously visited Ghana to teach rescue techniques to firefighters there.
The 53-year-old, who was part of a South Yorkshire team named World Extrication Champions in 2004, has been a firefighter for 25 years after starting his career at London Fire Brigade before transferring to South Yorkshire in 2000.
In 2012 there were 2,712 recorded road traffic collisions in the Republic of Moldova, causing 441 deaths.
The country’s fatality rate is more than 10 times that of the UK’s.
Factors contributing to the fatality rate are the length of time it takes emergency services to reach incidents, a lack of equipment and gaps in knowledge of those responding to incidents.
Firefighter North said: “The road death casualty rates in Moldova are unacceptably high and I think we have a duty in the developed world to share learning with firefighters there to help save lives.
“Things in Moldova have already improved thanks to previous training missions and some kit and equipment donations.
“The aim of this visit is to help the Moldovan fire service establish its own, national extrication challenge competition for its crews as a way of promoting skills and learning in the country in a sustainable way.”
The team is due to fly to Moldova on Monday.