2,000 Fire and Rescue NSW uniforms bound for Bhutan - VIDEO - NSW

Published: 19 Nov 2022 07:13am

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is delivering an early Christmas gift to the Kingdom of Bhutan by donating 2,000 firefighter uniforms.

In 2019, a pilot project was created to donate decommissioned ‘structural’ firefighting uniforms to the Fire Services Division of the Royal Bhutan Police Force.

Three years later, FRNSW is dramatically increasing the number of protective kits about to be de-badged and transported to the eastern Himalayan country.

The project was the brainchild of FRNSW Senior Firefighter Tom Wilson who visited Bhutan as a university student and saw the challenges facing that nation’s volunteer firefighters.

“In rural areas, there just aren’t great resources for fighting fires, not everyone has a uniform… they have gumboots and jeans as their protective gear,” Senior Firefighter Wilson said.

Bhutanese firefighters are often dealing with pine forest fires and regularly called to extinguish blazes fuelled by raw, wooden materials.

“The volunteers might be able to get on top of fires much quicker with greater protection once they receive these jackets and over-pants,” Senior Firefighter Wilson said.

FRNSW Deputy Commissioner – Strategic Capability Megan Stiffler said the Bhutanese people have a special connection with their land.

“These uniforms will significantly improve the ability of local firefighters to protect their environment. It will be a big boost to their health and safety as well,” Deputy Commissioner Stiffler said.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the delivery of jackets and pants complements previous shipments of boots and helmets, and will assist Bhutanese firefighters who aren’t as well equipped as personnel in NSW.

“Fire and Rescue NSW is one of the most professional and well-resourced firefighting agencies in the world and it’s wonderful that we’re able to support our firefighting family on the other side of the globe,” Ms Cooke said.

Bhutan has around 15,000 nationals studying in Australia, primarily tertiary students in New South Wales and Western Australia.

The Royal Government of Bhutan opened its embassy in Canberra in December last year.

EDITORS NOTE: Additional photos are available on the FRNSW website. Video of the uniforms being sorted and packed at the ESA, and grabs with FRNSW Senior Firefighter Tom Wilson and Minister Cooke, are available for download via this web link https://vimeo.com/772310961/0b54e824da [external link]

Updated: 27 Jan 2023 05:17pm

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