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FIRE AID members, EASST in partnership with FedEx deliver initiatives focused on road safety in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine

Mon 02, Sep, 2019

Road crashes are the leading cause of death for young people aged 5-29 years old, in every world region. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) road deaths per 100,000 of the population are nearly three times higher in Belarus and Azerbaijan than in the UK. In Ukraine they are more than four times the UK rate. Children are particularly vulnerable on the roads as they can lack the skill and judgement to keep themselves safe; their size makes them less visible to drivers; and they are physically smaller, so more likely to be injured in a collision.

FIRE AID members, the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) partners in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine worked with EASST to shape projects that aim to address this very significant problem. The initiatives will tackle key issues with practical plans to improve children’s safety by improving their visibility; identifying collision blackspots and campaigning for improved infrastructure; and improving the post-crash response should they be involved in a collision.  Each project will also include education work using the EASST Road Safety Education Pack, which will give over 1,000 children the skills and knowledge they need to help keep themselves safe around roads.

“FedEx Express remains extremely committed to road safety as a global societal issue that continues to be pressing and deserving of attention in Europe. We invest and collaborate with several road safety organisations, like EASST, that we recognise are positioned to deliver far-reaching positive impact. With this charitable grant, we’re proud to represent one component in a collaborative model that enables private business to play a role in improving road safety, by empowering those on the ground who are already working to do so,” said Rock Sherman, Vice President Road Network Europe, FedEx Express.

In Azerbaijan, along with EASST partner the National Automobile Club of Azerbaijan (AMAK), we will be focusing on child pedestrian safety in Baku. The project team will work closely with the Road Police to analyse crash data and map child pedestrian black spots across the city. Once the key blackspots are identified, we will work with road engineering experts to identify practical infrastructure improvements that could mitigate child pedestrian risk. In December 2018, the President of Azerbaijan signed a new five-year State Program on Road Safety making this is an excellent time to be pushing for evidenced-based road infrastructure improvements.

In Belarus, we will be working with EASST partner the Belarusian Auto Moto Touring Club (BKA) and the Belarusian Association of Assistance to Children and Young People with Disabilities (BelAPDIiMI). The project will make use their social inclusion and empowerment programme, which includes the production of handicrafts, made from unused high-visibility clothing received through the EASST Donations Programme. The clothing will be turned into ‘mascots’ or tags for school book bags and children’s coats to promote visibility and safety on the roads. The items will be distributed to children in areas where night-time visibility is poor, particularly in the rural regions of Belarus.

The EASST Donations Programme is an initiative that collects old and dis-used high-visibility clothing and materials from UK companies and authorities, that would otherwise be sent to landfill, and ships it to EASST partners for use in their projects working with local communities.

Finally, in Ukraine, EASST partner the Road Safety Support Foundation (RSSF) will be collaborating with FIRE AID and the Lviv University of Life Safety to improve post-crash response and road safety education. In Ukraine, 78% of road casualties die at the scene of a crash. Post-crash response is vital to saving lives and has been an essential Pillar within the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. By giving someone first aid within the first 10 minutes after a crash, their chances of surviving increase by 60-70 per cent. The FedEx Express grant enables EASST to build on previous work with the Lviv Institute to increase the capacity of local fire services to save lives through efficient post-crash response. Post-crash response equipment, donated by Kent Fire and Rescue Service, will be driven across Europe and donated to the Korosten Fire Service, where in-country familiarisation training will be delivered to the Lviv and Korosten Fire Services by a team of UK firefighters. The equipment includes one fire appliance to attend road crashes and other incidents, as well as modern road traffic collision extraction kits and an incident response unit.

Oksana Romanukha of RSSF said: “Charitable funding from FedEx Express is enabling us to concentrate efforts on improving post-crash response in Ukraine. The delivery of much-needed fire appliances and equipment from the UK, accompanied by training for local fire fighters, will strengthen the potential of Ukrainian emergency services and will help reduce fatalities on Ukrainian roads.”

EASST is delighted to receive support from FedEx Express that allows our local NGO partners to promote road safety. The global rate of road traffic casualties present a critical challenge to international development – contributing to issues of poor economic growth, climate change, and social isolation. FedEx Express is one of several private companies and corporations collaborating with non-profits to tackle these issues, and we couldn’t be more proud to be working with them to save lives and support development in the EASST region.