Back in 1994, a great friendship between the firefighters of Great Britain and Croatia began.
The humanitarian organization “Operation Florian” based in England, was established in 1994 to provide assistance to rescue and firefighting units in the Republic of Croatia. In the period from 1994 to 2002 the organization delivered Croatian firefighters 70 fire engines and large quantities of firefighting equipment such are PPE, BA devices, firefighting fittings, rescue equipment, resuscitation equipment, etc. The specifity of these actions was that the donations were directed to areas affected by the war, where the firefighting organization was not capable to acquire satisfactory technology and equipment by its own funds, thus the development of fire protection and firefighting was given a significant swing.
The provision of aid, which began as early as 1994, primarily as a collaboration based on the contacts of the Supetar voluntary fire brigade and the humanitarian organization “Operation Florian”, branched out and expanded to such an extent that the amount of firefighting equipment collected in England was too large for the area of the island of Brač, therefore in 1996 the cooperation was raised at the level of the Republic of Croatia.
In cooperation with the Croatian Firefighting Association and the Ministry of the Interior, “Operation Florian Croatia” successfully organized 7 firefighting camps in the Republic of Croatia, which were held initially in Supetar on Brač island, and until 2002 in other camps throughout the country.
Thanks to the English and Croatian officials of “Operation Florian” and to numerous British firefighters, this humanitarian and voluntary operation brought a great benefit to the Croatian fire service.
Today the situation is different. “Operation Florian” is no longer active in the Republic of Croatia as before, but it still has its members and representatives in the Voluntary Fire Brigade in Supetar on Brač and in Baranja, the secretary of the Baranja Fire Brigade whos is also the secretary of Voluntary Fire Brigade in Kneževi Vinogradi, Mrs. Rena Čete, who regularly maintains contact with her English friends.
Recently, DVD Kneževi Vinogradi and DVD Trilj expressed a great need for the supply of rams for Holmatro hydraulic tools for technical interventions. Renata contacted her friend, the president of “Operation Florian”, Mr. Michael Doherty, who, with the help of his colleagues, procured the necessary tools and waited for the right moment to deliver these 22 kg, or in total of 44 kg heavy tools to Croatia. Given that “Operation Florian” is currently implementing a project to deliver fire engines to Montenegro and one vehicle was passing through Croatia, Mr. Doherty and his colleague Mr. Roy Barraclough decided to send these rams with their team. The team led by Mr. Martin Brien and his colleagues Paul and Andy arrived in Trilj in the evening of May 9, where they were met by the fire-chief, Mr. Mladen Klarić. After a pleasant evening spent socializing with their hosts, in the early morning of the next day, the English team had to continue their route to Montenegro. As a sign of appreciation to the Trilj firefighters, they donated the already mentioned hydraulic tool rams and a very valuable Argus 4 thermal camera.
Unfortunately, Baranja was too far away this time for Renata and her colleagues from the Kneževi Vinogradi Fire Brigade to go to Trilj and meet their English colleagues, but instead of them, the fire chief of the Osijek-Baranja County Fire Association, Mr. Zoran Pakšec, took over the valuable donation. After a few days, the ram finally arrived at its new home in Baranja. The team led by Renata, the fire-chief Kneževi Vinogradi fire-station, Mr. Aleksandar Lozanov, and his deputy, Mr. David Andrić, eagerly awaited the moment when Mr. Zdenko Čarapar, the president of VZOBŽ, i.e. the vice-president of the Croatian Firefighting Association, would arrive at their Station and hand over the precious cargo to them. The ram immediately found its place in the MAN fire appliance, which also arrived from England in 2020.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Doherty, Mr. Roy Barraclough who procured and packed the rams, and the guys who travelled this far and delivered them to their destination.
However, our cooperation with “Operation Florian” does not end here. Bearing in mind all the good deeds that “Operation Florian” has done for Croatian firefighters in recent years, by the initiative of the county fire chief, Mr. Pakšec, and with the mediation of Mrs. Čete, the Firefighting Association of Osijek-Barania County, sent to “Operation Florijan” a letter of intent expressing the will and desire to renew cooperation between firefighters from Osijek-Barania County and firefighters from Great Britain. Mr. Pakšec’s idea this time is turned in a completely different direction, namely towards the establishment of operational standards, the exchange of expertise and experience in the field of firefighting personnel training, that is, the bilateral work of two associations that strive to raise firefighting to a significantly higher level.
The first working meeting at the “Operation Florian” headquarters in England is planned for this summer.