Storms Menri with Portico employees

Portico has covered the shipping and customs clearance cost of a container of fire fighting equipment bound for Ghana, to help firefighter Storms Menri and charity FIRE AID get essential safety gear to where it is desperately needed.

The container of firefighting kit, including essential PPE, radio equipment, hoses, smoke alarms, breathing apparatus sets and cutting gear, were loaded at Portico’s terminal this week. It is now aboard an Africa Express Lines vessel, bound for Ghana.

This donation is down to the efforts of Cosham firefighter Storms Menri (pictured above with Portico employees Craig Hibberd and Conor McAvery), who has been fundraising to send redundant Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) kit to Ghana.

During a recent trip to the country he saw for himself how hard the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) personnel work to protect their communities, even though they have limited access to protective equipment such as fire-proof tunics, trousers, helmets, gloves and boots.

In contrast, Storms and his HIWFRS colleagues are never without their personal protective equipment to keep them safe.

Equipment for Ghana

Watching a video of personnel from the GNFS turning up to a major fire incident in a taxi carrying fire extinguishers, broke his heart and he was inspired to help. He decided to team up with charity FIRE AID to get a shipping container full of essential HIWFRS clothing and other equipment delivered to Ghana.

As part of his fundraising efforts, he completed a 10 mile run each day for a week around the coastal path of the Isle of Wight. In addition, he ran 5 kilometres at Southsea parkrun alongside Matt Green from Portico, and also ran the Great South Run. At both of these events, he ran in full firefighting gear.

Storms said: “My main drive for this project has been knowing the impact it will make to society.  This essential equipment will improve the capabilities of the Ghana National Fire and Rescue Service, helping them to save more lives and operate in a safe manner. I appreciate the amazing support from Portico, FireAid, HIWFRS and all our generous donors that contributed to make this phase of the project a reality.

“We are also now engaging with the teams in Ghana for an opportunity to have an input in their firefighting training in the near future.”

To assist with this incredible effort, Portico have covered the cost of customs clearance of the container of equipment, along with the cost of the container itself and the shipping fee.

Matt Green, key account manager at Portico said: “I’m delighted to see this container of safety gear heading to Ghana from our terminal, and I’m pleased we’ve been able to help by paying for the shipping and customs costs for the container of equipment.

“We hope that this delivery will help the brave firefighters of the GNFS carry out their jobs with more confidence, knowing that they are kitted out in the right protective equipment.”

Claire Hoyland from FIRE AID and International Development said: “First responders in many developing countries endeavour to save lives every day while they themselves work without basic personal protective equipment. Not only are they risking their own lives every day, but they are unable to provide proper care to victims in need which, in turn, means lives are lost that could have been saved.

“FIRE AID and International Development donates decommissioned but still perfectly useable fire and rescue equipment alongside professional training to firefighters in desperate need, saving this valuable equipment from scrap and allowing it to go on and save more lives.”

The container is due to arrive at Thema, Ghana in three weeks time. You can find out more about the project and donate to the fundraiser here.