Portsmouth/Hayling Link  

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Learn Chernobyl Story

On Wednesday 25th April, we arranged for our Liquidator to visit Hampshire Fire and Rescue Headquarters at Eastleigh. The guests were from the Ukraine, Mr Oleksandr Shimansky and Ms Sveta Matsokha. They were accompanied by our Marian Stapley and Rob Baker.

In attendance were the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Urban Search and Rescue Team (some of which attended the Japan earthquake as part of the UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team and two officers from the Hazmat/DIM (Detection, Identification and Monitoring) team, as well as members of South Central Ambulance Service HART (Hazardous Area Response Team).

From April to May 1987 Oleksandr was commissioned to Chernobyl in a role of a ‘Fire and Rescue Engineer’, dealing with both the deactivation of the industrial area around the nuclear power plant and also the burial of the ‘Red Forest’. He was awarded several times by the military unit he was subscribed to for acting in life-threatening conditions whilst carrying out his duty. Svetlana was his interpreter for his visit to England, and works full-time as a teacher of English where she lives in the Ukraine.

Our Rob Baker opened the presentation and outlined the details of Chernobyl disaster, and went on to introduce Oleksandr who gave an account of his experiences following the Chernobyl disaster. Following the presentation the group asked a series of questions which ranged from how the disaster was tackled and how it could have been approached today.

Following the presentation, Oleksandr and Svetlana were given a tour of the Station and had chance to see training that was being undertaken and also the various types of equipment that are used to respond to the various incidents that the Fire fighter attend.

We would like to thank Simon Whelan from Fareham Fire Station for arranging our visit, and it was rewarding to hear the mutual respect that these professionals have for each other.


More Photos can be found in our Gallery