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Donations could cause unintended strain

Donations of Emergency Services tools to the Global South come from all kinds of sources and contain quite so much of brands of apparatus. Donating entities collect no matter they’ll and bundle goods into shipments that ideally match the needs of the recipient. But the considerably haphazard donations process can find yourself creating added pressure on the Global South recipient departments. After all, it’s exhausting sufficient sustaining a standardized inventory of equipment. But imagine now having a mixture of equipment, each with barely totally different characteristics and attributes – gear, instruments and automobiles with completely different manuals when you have them, totally different spare parts whenever you need them, specialist technical help if one means or the other you could get access to it locally, and often directions that aren’t in the local language of recipient firefighters.
Moreover, I have seen donated gear arrive in recipient countries that is clearly marked as out of service (OOS), unserviceable (U/S), unrepairable, failed and even ‘unsafe–do not use’. Also pressure gauge 10 bar is damaged or incomplete equipment; PPE that is torn, still soiled with blood, or with out thermal liners; cracked helmets with no face shields or inner shell; SCBA masks with no harnesses or exhalation valves; seized pumps; and, the most common of all, punctured hearth hose.
Donations sometimes include written disclaimers from some Global North organizations, absolving them from any warranty, assure and accountability for accident, harm or mechanical failure after delivery. But authorized legal responsibility is hardly the biggest concern of a recipient division seeking to shield its personnel. Clear fit-for-duty situations should at all times be met by a donation to make sure it serves its meant purpose.
Lastly, many donors count on the host nation or recipient department to cover some costs – delivery, import duties and flights for volunteers providing training and attending the handover. And while there are good arguments for cost-sharing (including that it encourages accountability on the a part of the recipient), these costs can be substantial for recipients who in plenty of instances can’t afford primary, new assets. These costs put important strain on the recipient departments and can end result in donations being stuck in warehouses for months or years while recipients wait for somebody to pay taxes and charges to get the tools ‘released’ for use.
Are we encouraging risk?

I actually have seen many forms of equipment that require regular, specialist care and statutory management that have arrived within the arms of abroad personnel having failed or exceeded the permissible requirements anticipated within the country of origin. Used ladders, hoses, pumps, chemical safety fits, medical provides, radiation and gas-monitoring devices, strains, lifejackets, vertical rescue gear, and so on. all cascade their means all the way down to international locations the place they are used and trusted by those with less regulatory protection. Firefighters within the Global South aren’t any much less brave than their counterparts in richer countries. The gear they use must nonetheless be secure.
It concerns me – and I truly have seen this within the area – that some kinds of refined donated gear typically encourage firefighters to tackle emergencies that they don’t have any training or ability to handle. In many circumstances, they expose themselves to far larger risk, as they’ve neither the experience nor the training opportunities that Global North responders have.
Responders in rising markets don’t have the luxurious of calling the local energy or gas company to isolate the supply to a property before they enter. They would possibly face saved home gas bottles, unauthorized electricity connections, unlawful building requirements, and different hazards that make their operations especially precarious. But armed with their newly donated gear, they sometimes assume that they’re better protected to enter those dangers than earlier than, when they had nothing.
Ask yourself should you would truthfully be okay with utilizing donated equipment that has failed certification or handed its usable date in your personal every day emergencies, not to mention underneath these circumstances?

Some donor businesses that ship their personnel to offer short-term, fundamental coaching concern their very own ‘certificates of attendance and/or competence’. But attendance is not the same as mastery. A firefighter receiving a donation is unlikely to ask if the foreign skilled is really certified to teach them about a specific piece of apparatus. Unless certifications are endorsed or recognized by a real standards agency in the host country and the instructors have present qualifications and authorized authority to problem them exterior their own nation, the follow is questionable.
In some ways, skilled steering is much more essential than the donated equipment itself. If we want to forestall donation-driven threat taking by Global South first responders, we have to not only donate tools that is match for obligation but additionally support our donations with qualified folks on the bottom, working hand in hand with the local personnel for an acceptable time frame to appropriately guide and certify customers in operations and maintenance.
Donations ought to drive budget

Finally, donations don’t mechanically treatment the tools and training void in emerging markets, and in some circumstances, they will truly exacerbate the issue. Global South firefighters asking for overseas aid are doing so as a outcome of their native authorities both lack the required funds or don’t see their wants as a precedence. But the reality is that in many nations’ governments, officials typically have little understanding of the industry. They assume that donated used items are a helpful answer to a price range shortfall. A short-term repair perhaps. But in the long run, the aim should be to encourage governments to deal with the real short- and long-term needs of their Emergency Services personnel and actually invest in the development of high quality Emergency Services for their nations. A fast repair may take the pressure off quickly, but the necessary dialogue about long-term financing between departments and their governments needs to be taking place sooner, not later.
In the top, there isn’t a shortcutting high quality. Donations must be quality tools, licensed to be used and ideally, the place attainable, the same or related brands as these getting used at present by recipients. Equipment needs to come with actual training from practitioners with current expertise on the gear being acquired. Recipients must be trained so the model new gear could make them safer, not create additional risk. And donations should not finish a dialog about price range – they want to be a part of a dialog about greater requirements and better service that relies on a big selection of new, recycled and donated tools that truly serves the ever-expanding needs of the global Emergency Services group.
Please keep an eye out for the fourth and last instalment of this text next month, where I will illustrate factors to consider when making a donation, as properly as recommendations to ensure profitable donations you possibly can feel proud of.
Chris Gannon

Chris Gannon has spent 29 years in the business as a national Fire Chief, authorities advisor, CEO of Gannon Emergency Solutions, and has constructed a status as a pioneer in reviewing and bettering Emergency Services around the globe. For extra information, please go to or
GESA (Global Emergency Services Action)

GESA is a global non-profit founded in 2020 by leader corporations within the Emergency Services sector. GESA is a coalition of companies, consultants and practitioners working collectively to change the way forward for the global Emergency Services marketplace. We are currently growing our flagship platform – the GESA Equipment Exchange – a web-based device that may connect Global South departments with producers, consultants, trainers and suppliers to tie donations to a sustainable, longer-term pipeline of gross sales and repair. For more data, membership inquiries and more, please contact


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