South Queensferry’s fire station is an unpublicised nerve centre for a life-saving international effort that has transformed whole countries.
And this week crew manager Paul Watson wants to say thanks to the many local people who have helped make it possible.
He was among Scots fire and rescue men recently awarded the International Humanitarian Service medal by the British ambassador to Moldova, assisted by the American ambassador and a representative of the country’s government.
But for the cause he and his colleagues support – the Scottish Emergency Rescue Association – it’s just the latest milestone in an amazing decade of pioneering work in some of the most deprived countries in the former Soviet bloc and the Balkans.
They have brought 42 fire appliances to regions which never had a fire engine, have kitted out seven ambulances and have provided equipment for hospitals and breathing apparatus for fire crews.
Serbia, Romania and now Moldova have all benefited, yet their “spare time” volunteering endeavour is a story yet to be told.
Paul said: “The clothing bank in the station yard collects £800 a month, thanks to generous local people – they are a huge part of what we are able to achieve, and we want to say thanks for each and every donation”.
l We’ll have the full story on the groundbreaking work by Paul and his colleagues in future issues.