Published: 01/10/2014

The IMRF – sharing resources...

A total of 250 lifejackets donated by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service in the UK have been sent worldwide through an initiative coordinated by the IMRF.

Distribution was supported by the Airbus Helicopters Corporate Foundation and the lifejackets were stored by IMRF Members the RNLI Lifeguards, before being dispatched to search and rescue services in Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil, Costa Rica, Russia, Estonia, Malta, Cabo Verde, Senegal, and The Gambia.

The lifejackets started their journey from a shipping container in Devon; were temporarily stored by the RNLI in Poole in Dorset; and have just been distributed by 1st Penguin Shipping to their new owners.

"Every year organisations replace and upgrade equipment," says IMRF CEO, Bruce Reid. "Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service had the foresight and good sense to recognise that their cast-offs would be of great benefit – particularly in areas where SAR resources are scarce.

"This was a fantastic team exercise with four organisations working together with a common goal – getting the life-jackets to organisations with the greatest need."

"We are pleased to support the selfless efforts of SAR organisa-tions worldwide to save people in danger at sea," says Georges Richelme, Executive Officer of the Airbus Helicopters Corporate Foundation. "Helicopters provide vital airlift to those in danger. Improving personal safety and mission efficiency is at the heart of Airbus Helicopters' values".

Giles White, Crew Commander at the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service explained: "The lifejackets were due to be disposed of my organisation. With my background of 20 years with the RNLI, I knew that they would still be of use to somebody. I was put in touch with the IMRF and they were delighted to accept them. I am looking to other Fire and Rescue Services across the UK to see if there is any more SAR equipment that could be used in a similar way".

The lifejackets are arriving in their new homes. Captain Gabriel Ndow, Senior Marine Surveyor from the Gambia Maritime Administration (GMA) writes:

"GMA is deeply appreciative of this gesture from IMRF and wishes to convey its sincere gratitude to the Federation. Rest assured that some of the stakeholders in the maritime community of The Gambia, particularly fisher folk and SAR personnel, will stand to benefit from these donated lifejackets."


The Airbus Helicopters Corporate Foundation was created in 2012 and has a focus on emergency response; aid for developing countries; aid for those living in extremely difficult conditions; and youth development. Further information may be found at


This is a simple but classic example of how the IMRF works – sharing resources in this case, or sharing ideas, innovations, experience and expertise.

This is just one of the ways we aim to help complete the global SAR plan, working as a membership organisation with supporters who share our goals and ideals.