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LA Fire Departments Are Sending Equipment To Help Ukraine's First Responders

Firefighters wearing helmets, reflective gear, and yellow tanks on their backs stair up at a burning building. More firefighters descend a ladder propped against the building high overhead.
Firefighters extinguish a fire in an apartment building in Kyiv on March 15, 2022, after strikes on residential areas killed at least two people, Ukraine emergency services said as Russian troops intensified their attacks on the Ukrainian capital.
(Aris Messinis
AFP via Getty Images)
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First responders in Ukraine should soon get a shipment of surplus equipment from their colleagues here in Los Angeles.

The county fire department will be sending helmets, gloves, hoses, and similar gear overseas, according to L.A. County Fire Captain Ron Haralson, who said they're joining city firefighters and other county departments in trying to do what they can to help.

"As a county employee, as a fire captain with 30 years of service, it makes me feel good knowing that my home station — with the support of my home department, with the support of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor [Janice] Hahn — has stepped up and agreed to support these efforts," Haralson said.

The upper corner of a tall residential building has been blown out and is open to the air. The different floors now look like terraces, and several firefighters pick through the rubble.
An aerial view shows firemen working in the rubble of a residential building which was hit by the debris from a downed rocket in Kyiv on March 17, 2022.
(Fadel Senna
AFP via Getty Images)
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Intense, heart-breaking, and sometimes graphic images from the war-torn nation show the devastation wrought on cities' infrastructure — and on civilians — as Russia continues its invasion. One airstrike leveled a theater where hundreds of people had been sheltering.

Haralson said he hoped the assistance "will continue to gather momentum, and other departments ... other stations throughout the nation and throughout the world, who if they haven't already started, will start to do the same thing."

The move to send aid comes after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors called on county departments, including the Office of Immigrants Affairs, to draw up plans to provide services for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion and help them resettle here.

That aid would include legal help, medical and mental health care and cash assistance.

Supervisor Hilda Solis said the county could help out local residents with loved ones in Ukraine who need help with paperwork for visa sponsorships.

The LAPD might also send some tactical equipment, including body armor, to help "protect the people and the brave fighters in Ukraine," said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Last week, West Virginia's Governor Jim Justice ordered law enforcement in his state to donate excess body armor to Ukrainian troops fighting Russia's invasion.

On Wednesday, Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, pleaded with the United States Congress for more military aid to protect its airspace against a Russian onslaught.

Hours later, President Biden committed to sending $800 million to Ukraine. That money includes funds for anti-aircraft systems, drones and missiles.

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