Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

June 13, 2007 19:01 ET

THE ROAD TO IRAQ: HOW 6 PEOPLE DROVE TWO FIRE ENGINES OVER 3,000 MILES THROUGH 11 COUNTRIES IN 10 DAYS

SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - June 11, 2007) -

EMBARGOED RELEASE: 00.01 June 14, 2007

Attn: South West, North West, West Midlands, East of England and national newsdesks

In September 2006 the Fire Brigades Union took two fire engines supplied through Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and headed for Baghdad. Security concerns were such that few people outside the fire service were aware the journey was being made.

The newly published Road to Iraq records in words and pictures how and why the journey was undertaken. It records breakdowns, going days without sleep, being illegally held on the Turkish border, paying off custom's officials and being stopped at gunpoint.

The supply of the fire engines was the latest initiative to Iraq from the FBU - helped by donations from other unions. The union had already delivered thousands of pieces of fire service kit such as uniforms, protective equipment including helmets, tunics and boots to the Iraqi fire service. This surplus kit had been collected from some fire brigades across the UK. Although outdated in UK terms, it could still be used by the Iraqi fire service.

Those who made the journey included three current and former members of the West Midlands Fire Service (Phil Goalby, Norman Brackenbridge and Mick Henn) one former member of the Avon Fire service (Brian Joyce) one member of Greater Manchester Fire service (Val Salmon) and the union's head of communications (Duncan Milligan).

Brian Joyce said: "On previous trips to Iraq I found firefighters trying to tackle fires wearing only sandals, t-shirts and boilersuits and suffering horrendous burns as a result. We had already delivered thousands of pieces of protective equipment and fire appliances were the next logical step.

"Thousands of Iraqi fire crews can serve their communities and do their jobs more safely because of the kit we have supplied since 2004. Two communities in Iraq now have fire appliances, are safer as a result and we hope we can send some more.

"The Road to Iraq is intended to tell others what we have done so far, why we have done it and what is possible. Not doing something just because it looks difficult is not the instinct of anyone in the fire service.

"Iraqi fire crews are trying to work in fairly desperate conditions. They needed help and we have helped them and the communities they are trying to serve."

All FBU members and MPs have been sent a copy.

The Road to Iraq is available to view on the FBU website www.fbu.org.uk Hard copies are available by e-mailing firefighter@fbu.org.uk

Some of the above are available for interview.

Contact Information

  • Duncan Milligan
    07736 818100