Ukraine firefighters visit Fond du Lac Fire Department

FOND DU LAC (WITI) -- The City of Fond du Lac Fire Department this week hosted two senior fire emergency officials from Kiev. The two men toured the fire house, talked training procedures and checked out emergency fire response vehicles. Their goal? Make improvements in Ukraine.

The firefighters work at Ukraine's largest airport, and plan to upgrade to the same type of rigs Fond du Lac firefighters use. Pierce Manufacturing, a division of Oshkosh Corp., builds the emergency vehicles.

"They're desperate to find a better firefighting apparatus at their airport and in their country, and so if we can help provide them with some experiences we've had with Pierce Products, I mean, the vehicles here are all road tested. We use them a lot," Fond du Lac Fire Chief Peter O'Leary said.

This was a chance for the foreign fire officials to get a first hand look at the trucks' technical capabilities.

Ukraine's International Airport Fire and Emergency Director Alexander Kozubenko spoke to the media with the help of Oshkosh Corp's Russian sales manager.

"They can build for us the truck we need based on our specifications," Sergey Galkin, a translator for the Ukrainan firefighters said.

The Ukrainian firefighters say their trucks are similar to those used by the Fond du Lac Fire Department, however, they are not as technologically advanced.

"The biggest difference is there are new techniques and electronics and computers, electronic equipment," Galkin said for Kozubenko.

The two also had the opportunity to tour the firehouse and discuss fire training procedures.

"The most important part that we should be replicating in any country in the world is this training," Galkin said for Kozubenko.

"No matter where you go, whether you are in the United States or another country, firefighters have a bond and a camaraderie that is very unique and you can see they're comfortable here," O'Leary said.

The Ukrainian firefighters headed to Chicago on Wednesday afternoon, February 26th. On Thursday, they will tour O'Hare Airport's firefighting operations.