To help meet the growing demand for firefighter aid, the International Fire Relief Mission has brought on an expert in firefighting, training, international travel and logistics to organize and oversee its teams that travel around the world on its behalf.
Reminderville, Ohio Fire Chief Thomas Plunkett brings 22 years of firefighter leadership experience to IFRM. In addition, he is a noted world traveler with more than eight years of assisting firefighters overseas through nongovernment organizations.
“The requests for help from firefighters around the world are pouring in faster than at any other time since IFRM began in 2007,” said IFRM President Ron Gruening. “We are also receiving more donated firefighting equipment than at any other time. This puts us in a position to do more good for more firefighters; having Chief Plunkett as a key part of IFRM’s team will go a long way toward us keeping more firefighters safe through good equipment and training.”
In addition to sending large shipping containers of donated firefighting and EMS equipment — that is mostly outdated by U.S. standards, yet has plenty of service life left — to firefighters in developing countries, IFRM dispatches a team to train those firefighters on the gear’s safe and proper use.
“Just giving someone gear without instruction creates more problems than it solves,” Gruening said. “Chief Plunkett will make IFRM’s teams more organized and more effective while abroad.”
Chief Plunkett said he sought out IFRM because of the growing need for reliable firefighting equipment and training around the world as well as the success IFRM has had in that arena.
“My background in fire and rescue administration has well prepared me for the detailed organizational skill required to plan and execute international relief missions,” Chief Plunkett said. “Additionally, my familiarity with the logistics involved in global travel will benefit the organization and eliminate potential complications.”
One of Chief Plunkett’s goals is to recruit more highly skilled trainers to travel with IFRM. Those interested can apply to be an IFRM team member by contacting Chief Plunkett at TPlunkett@IFRM2007.com.