Ukrainian First Responders Fighting On

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[Trigger warning: This post discusses war and has clips showing war zones (mostly rubble and fires). If you’re disturbed by news about this topic, please skip to How to Help at the end of this article.]

Our first responders face many challenges here in the US, but recently our hearts have gone especially out to those in Ukraine who are under attack. What must it be like and how much trauma are first responders in Ukraine facing now? More importantly, how can we help from here?

Battle Zone

As first responders try to secure safe places in bomb shelters for citizens and put out fires from the attack, their own departments are being hit, injuring and killing people and destroying what equipment they have to help those in need. In this video, fire fighters are trying to douse a fire at a Ukrainian civilian airport.

In Kyiv, Russian troops were firing at fire fighters who were trying to put out a fire at one of the reactors at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant. Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged Putin to call off the attack under concern of severe nuclear reaction.

Families are splitting as women and children flee to neighboring countries and some stay behind to fight for their country. Some staying behind have never held a gun.


Oleg Cliphage is a Ukrainian born American firefighter in Cosumnes, CA. Here’s the clip of his story here. Their department is collecting and donating supplies for Ukrainian fire fighters since the attacks started. Oleg explains that departments in Ukraine do not have the gear or apparatus available or of the same caliber as we do in the United States. Oleg also says they don’t have the same training back home either. He’s been in communications since this all started, trying to rally support on social media and in his community to send aid.

Sending Aid

Many groups and departments, like Oleg’s in California, are sending tactical gear, turnout gear, and equipment to Ukraine to help supply first responders who are trying to help their country. In New Jersey, Clifton firefighter Oleg Skachko is collecting turnout gear to send over. He always dreamed of becoming a firefighter, so when he emigrated to the US at age 14, he continued to pursue that dream. He still has friends in Ukraine who have contacted him with requests. The gear must be flown into other countries and driven in as Russia attacked all Ukraine’s airports first.

How to Help

Many of us feel helpless over here in the US. We at First Responder Coaching know trauma and its effects on first responders. This is a completely devastating magnitude of trauma and our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are still doing their jobs in horrid conditions.

As we stand in solidarity with them, there’s loads of ways to help donate if you’re interested. Many local groups are collecting items for refugees like clothing, blankets, toiletries, and medical supplies. As mentioned above, many departments are collecting gear for the fight or first responders. If you’re looking to donate items, check your local community as most programs are collecting funds to best economize resources most needed and get them there efficiently. Here’s a few resources you can use to send donations: