On Thursday, August 11, volunteers from the Bay Area Fire Department and Fire Department finished loading a 40ft shipping container with firefighting equipment to be sent to Ukraine .
Harold Schapelhouman, retired Chief of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, helped organize the collection of used fire tools and supplies to help Ukrainian firefighters perform rescues, recoveries and fight fires. fires.
The effort began in April, with Schapelhouman and others contacting agencies about the need for tools in Ukraine.
Schapelhouman said his position as an immigrant and husband of a half-Ukrainian woman brought the issue of war in Ukraine closer together.
The former fire chief, who also worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services for Urban Search and Rescue, believes no matter what, those carrying out rescue work in Ukraine need help.
With many efforts to help Ukraine in other ways, Schapelhouman wanted to focus on firefighting equipment, which can be hard to come by.
Schapelhouman said donations of functional equipment are pouring in from fire departments and agencies in the Bay Area and beyond, including the San Francisco Fire Department and San Mateo Consolidated Fire Department. , allowing the group to send saws, clothing and other tools to Ukraine.
Other donors of equipment and volunteer assistance include San Francisco Fire Department Local 798, Sacramento Metro Fire District, FireNuggets.com, Central Marin Fire Department, Reserves of the San Francisco Fire Department, the City College of San Francisco Fire Science Department, Los Bomberos of San Francisco, and United Women of the Fire Service.
Volunteers also included budding firefighters and a church group, performing tasks ranging from heavy lifting to cleaning and organizing.
“That’s the good part of getting the job done is seeing people come together for a common cause and being able to make them feel satisfied that they got to be part of something worthwhile,” said Schapelhouman.
Supplies and volunteer efforts were centered around the Komodo Fire Systems warehouse in Morgan Hill.
Schapelhouman said the volunteers were hosting a celebratory barbecue on Thursday as they sent the container to Poland before the equipment was dispersed to areas where it was needed in Ukraine.
“We’ve worked with different people who are actually out there and can make sure this equipment goes exactly where it needs to go,” Schapelhouman said.