Volunteer FFs in U.S. donate equipment to Ukrainian FFs

Two departments recently wrapped up efforts to collect and send bunker gear, air tanks and tools


By Leila Merrill

STAMFORD, Conn. — Volunteer firefighters in Connecticut and Wisconsin have been gathering gear to send to Ukrainian firefighters.

Firefighters with one of Stamford, Connecticut’s 15 fire stations have gathered a vanload of sets of bunker gear, air tanks and other equipment, the Stamford Advocate reported.

A Ukrainian firefighter hoses down a destroyed warehouse after a Russian bombardment on the outskirts of Kyiv on March 24.
A Ukrainian firefighter hoses down a destroyed warehouse after a Russian bombardment on the outskirts of Kyiv on March 24. (Photo/Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)

“They’re taking a beating over there, no doubt, and we want to help them in any way that is possible,” said Turn of River Fire Department Assistant Chief Robert “Rex” Morris.

The equipment may be out-of-date by U.S. standards, but it still works.

The Village of Salem Lakes Fire Department in Wisconsin amassed over 80 bunker coats, dozens of helmets plus a variety of tools, according to Fox 6. As that department was clearing out its unused gear, neighboring stations in Wisconsin and Illinois also donated.

"Their stations are being blown up," said Firefighter Artur Stypula, who is originally from Poland. "Most of them, like most of us, are volunteers."

Stypula led the Wisconsin effort.

Rep. Bryan Steil (R.-Wis.) praised the work in a speech Monday.

“As war has ravaged Ukraine, the firefighters in Salem Lakes, Wisconsin took action. Led by volunteer firefighter Art Stypula, the Salem Lakes Fire Department organized a massive equipment drive. The effort involved fire departments throughout southeast Wisconsin and even the Chicago area. Turnout gear and other locally collected lifesaving equipment was shipped to Poland to help Ukrainian firefighters do their job and keep people safe,” said Steil. “I'm extremely proud of the Salem Lakes Fire Department and the firefighters for organizing desperately needed aid to the Ukrainian people.”

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