Montenegro – May 2023

Montenegro – May 2023


Dates: 15/05/2023 - 22/05/2023

Location: , Montenegro


Appliance delivery and training.

project leader

Dave Thurston and Pup Upton

Team members

Martin Brien, Andy Loxham and Paul Heppenstall


The project


During the scoping visit in March 2022, several areas for improvement were identified at the visited stations in Montenegro. One of these stations was the volunteer fire station in Brestice-Trubjela, which lacked Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and relied on an old, ex-military FAP water carrier. Situated in the Municipality of Niksic, the Brestice-Trubjela station is located adjacent to a major road leading from Podgorica to Croatia, resulting in a significant number of Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) where they often arrive before their full-time colleagues.

The scoping report recommended the provision of a Volvo fire appliance equipped with hydraulic rescue equipment to enhance the capabilities of the Brestice-Trubjela station. Following the training conducted in October 2022, several developments took place that made the donation of the Volvo fire appliance possible:

  1. The engine of the existing FAP water carrier broke down and was deemed irreparable.
  2. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service generously donated a Volvo fire appliance fitted with RTC equipment to Operation Florian.

In October 2022, the Brestice-Trubjela station received various sets of PPE and small gear, including flexi-backpacks. This donation marked the first time the station received support, both domestically and externally, owing to the partnership agreement between Operation Florian and the Association of Firefighters and Rescuers of Montenegro.

Appliance Delivery and Training:

On May 7th, the Volvo fire appliance was driven from the UK to Montenegro by Martin Brien, Andy Loxham, and Paul Heppenstall. The journey was smooth, and the team arrived in Montenegro after four days.

The team conducted training sessions on appliance servicing and maintenance, pumping, general equipment familiarization, RTC response, hose handling, pumps and ladders operation, as well as trauma and medical training. A total of 25 volunteer and 20 professional firefighters received training.

Initially, during the winter months, the Volvo fire appliance will be stationed in Niksic due to the absence of an appliance bay in Brestice. However, during the summer, particularly during the peak wildfire season, it will be parked at the old Yugoslavian military site in Brestice. The community of Brestice-Trubjela is undertaking the construction of an appliance bay near their village this summer to provide a permanent housing solution for the Volvo fire appliance.

As a result of a general election and public holiday during the week, the volunteers had the opportunity to visit a local primary school that caters to over 800 pupils. The head teacher warmly welcomed the visit, and a joint “show and tell” session was conducted by the volunteer and professional firefighters.

One of the primary objectives of this project was to integrate volunteer and professional firefighters through joint training. This approach proved highly successful, and it was reassuring to observe that such integration will continue in the future.

Due to the bank holiday, the official handover of the Volvo appliance took place after the Operation Florian team had returned to the UK. Rachel De Souza from the British Embassy kindly represented the project team and officially handed over the appliance on behalf of Operation Florian.

Future Visits:

We are actively seeking sponsors to ensure the continued success of the Montenegro project. If you would like to learn more about the project or get involved, please email the project leaders, Dave Thurston or Pup Upton.

Special thanks

Operation Florian are extremely grateful to all supporters of this project. Without your assistance these projects would not be possible. You have helped to save lives and improve community safety:

  • The Operation Florian Board for their continued support.
  • Thanks and appreciation to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service for the donation of the Volvo fire appliance.
  • Goran Yankovic and the Association of Firefighters and Rescuers of Montenegro for their continued support.
  • Rachel De Souza from the British Embassy for continued support and assistance with the delivery of the project.
  • Manchester Rotary Club for their kind donation that helped with the transport of the Volvo fire appliance from the UK to Montenegro.
  • The transport and training delivery team for all of their hard work in making this phase of the project a success.