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Charity fire engine appeal
First Minister Alex Salmond today lent his support to a charity in its mission to provide emergency service vehicles to Moldova.
Blythswood Care is due to transport four refurbished fire engines and two ambulances to the Eastern European country later this month.
Mr Salmond said:
"Scotland is well served by courageous and dedicated fire-fighters and I'm well aware of the strong bond that exists between them and their professional counterparts across the world.
"However, while we are able to equip Scottish crews with the most modern, up-to-date fleet of appliances, elsewhere in the world communities can struggle to provide a single fire tender to cover large sections of their population.
"Blythswood Care performs great work both in Scotland and abroad and I wish the charity well in its latest humanitarian effort, which can help save lives and protect communities in Moldova."
A team of 16 skilled volunteers will drive the vehicles and stay for a week to train the local people in the use and maintenance of the equipment.
All of the vehicles, which are second-hand and no longer in use in Scotland, are checked over and fully kitted out. Blythswood has already transported vehicles to Serbia in 2007 and 2008.
Gary Bennett, the team leader, said:
"I visited Moldova in February. We will be delivering these vehicles to a town where the majority of people have no sanitation or running water. The local firemen work with a 1950's water carrier, filing the tank from a well.
"We will be able to supply them with vehicles and with up to date equipment. It will cost us around £15,000 to transport the vehicles and we still have equipment to purchase such as oxygen cylinders, trauma kits, foam, ladders, cervical collars, spine boards etc. This is a project which really does make a difference and I hope that people will support it."
Founded in 1966, Blythswood Care is a Christian charity involved in international relief and social care projects in Europe, Africa and Asia. In 2008, the charity sent 85 consignments of aid valued at £5.8 million to 17 countries.