Donations – An Essential Guide, Part three

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Donations of Emergency Services equipment to the Global South come from all kinds of sources and comprise a variety of manufacturers of kit. Donating entities collect whatever they will and bundle goods into shipments that ideally fit the needs of the recipient. But the somewhat haphazard donations process can find yourself creating added pressure on the Global South recipient departments. After all, it is exhausting enough sustaining a standardized stock of kit. But imagine now having a mixture of gear, each with slightly completely different traits and attributes – gear, tools and autos with totally different manuals when you have them, different spare components if you need them, specialist technical help if somehow you could get access to it regionally, and sometimes directions that are not in the native language of recipient firefighters.
Moreover, I even have seen donated gear arrive in recipient nations that’s clearly marked as out of service (OOS), unserviceable (U/S), unrepairable, failed and even ‘unsafe–do not use’. Also widespread is damaged or incomplete equipment; PPE that is torn, nonetheless dirty with blood, or with out thermal liners; cracked helmets with no face shields or inside shell; SCBA masks with no harnesses or exhalation valves; seized pumps; and, the most typical of all, punctured hearth hose.
Donations typically come with written disclaimers from some Global North organizations, absolving them from any guarantee, assure and responsibility for accident, damage or mechanical failure after delivery. But legal liability is hardly the biggest concern of a recipient division trying to shield its personnel. Clear fit-for-duty conditions should all the time be met by a donation to make sure it serves its supposed objective.
Lastly, many donors count on the host country or recipient division to cowl some costs – shipping, import duties and flights for volunteers providing coaching 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 could be substantial for recipients who in lots of cases can’t afford basic, new belongings. These prices put important strain on the recipient departments and may find yourself in donations being stuck in warehouses for months or years while recipients wait for somebody to pay taxes and costs to get the gear ‘released’ to be used.
Are we encouraging risk?

I have seen many forms of tools that require regular, specialist care and statutory control which have arrived within the palms of abroad personnel having failed or exceeded the permissible requirements anticipated in the nation of origin. Used ladders, hoses, pumps, chemical safety fits, medical supplies, radiation and gas-monitoring devices, traces, lifejackets, vertical rescue tools, and so forth. all cascade their means down to international locations where they are used and trusted by these with much less regulatory protection. Firefighters within the Global South are no less brave than their counterparts in richer countries. The gear they use should still be protected.
It concerns me – and I even have seen this within the area – that some sorts of subtle donated gear often encourage firefighters to sort out emergencies that they don’t have any training or ability to handle. In many cases, they expose themselves to far greater risk, as they’ve neither the experience nor the coaching alternatives that Global North responders have.
Responders in emerging markets don’t have the luxury of calling the native energy or fuel firm to isolate the provision to a property before they enter. They may face saved home gas bottles, unauthorized electricity connections, unlawful constructing standards, and different hazards that make their operations particularly precarious. But armed with their newly donated gear, they sometimes assume that they’re higher protected to enter these dangers than earlier than, once they had nothing.
Ask yourself if you would honestly be okay with utilizing donated gear that has failed certification or passed its usable date in your own day by day emergencies, not to mention beneath these circumstances?

Some donor companies that ship their personnel to provide short-term, fundamental coaching issue their own ‘certificates of attendance and/or competence’. But attendance isn’t the identical as mastery. A firefighter receiving a donation is unlikely to ask if the foreign skilled is really certified to show them a couple of specific piece of equipment. Unless certifications are endorsed or acknowledged by a real requirements company within the host nation and the instructors have current qualifications and legal authority to problem them outside their own country, the practice is questionable.
In some ways, professional steering is much more essential than the donated equipment itself. If we need to stop donation-driven danger taking by Global South first responders, we have to not solely donate gear that’s fit for responsibility but additionally support our donations with certified people on the ground, working hand in hand with the local personnel for an acceptable time frame to correctly information and certify customers in operations and maintenance.
Donations ought to drive budget

Finally, donations don’t automatically remedy the equipment and coaching void in emerging markets, and in some circumstances, they can really exacerbate the issue. Global South firefighters asking for international aid are doing so as a result of their native authorities either lack the required funds or don’t see their needs as a priority. But the reality is that in lots of nations’ governments, officials typically have little understanding of the trade. They assume that donated used items are a handy answer to a budget shortfall. A short-term repair maybe. But in the lengthy term, the aim should be to inspire governments to handle the actual short- and long-term wants of their Emergency Services personnel and really invest in the development of quality Emergency Services for his or her nations. A quick repair might take the pressure off temporarily, however the essential dialogue about long-term financing between departments and their governments must be happening sooner, not later.
In the end, there isn’t a shortcutting quality. Donations have to be quality tools, certified for use and ideally, the place possible, the identical or similar manufacturers as those being used at present by recipients. Equipment wants to come with real training from practitioners with present expertise on the gear being received. Recipients must be skilled so the model new gear could make them safer, not create extra danger. And donations mustn’t end a dialog about price range – they should be part of a dialog about higher requirements and better service that depends on quite lots of new, recycled and donated tools that truly serves the ever-expanding wants of the global Emergency Services community.
Please maintain an eye out for the fourth and last instalment of this text next month, the place I will illustrate components to contemplate when making a donation, in addition to recommendations to ensure profitable donations you can feel pleased with.
Chris Gannon

Chris Gannon has spent 29 years in the industry as a nationwide Fire Chief, authorities advisor, CEO of Gannon Emergency Solutions, and has built a status as a pioneer in reviewing and enhancing Emergency Services all over the world. For extra info, please go to www.gannonemergency.com or www.gannonemergencyusa.com.
GESA (Global Emergency Services Action)

GESA is a world non-profit based in 2020 by leader firms within the Emergency Services sector. GESA is a coalition of companies, consultants and practitioners working collectively to change the future of the global Emergency Services market. We are at present developing our flagship platform – the GESA Equipment Exchange – a web-based device that can join Global South departments with producers, consultants, trainers and suppliers to tie donations to a sustainable, longer-term pipeline of sales and repair. For more information, membership inquiries and extra, please contact amack@gesaction.org

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