Page 19 - July 2019
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have few hydrants. They do not have many complex structures in the more rural areas where we were training but they do have shanty towns where you can’t drive a fire engine to the fire so working through problems like this and giving them solutions was rewarding.”
Road traffic collisions are now becoming a big part of what the Kenyan fire crews are tackling and last year, Bedfordshire and Holmatro donated old cutting equipment.
FF Phillips explained: “A big challenge in training them to use the cutting equipment was obtaining a car to cut up and practise on. Vehicles are worth so much money, even if they’re a write off, so for us to get a car to train with and demonstrate the techniques on was fantastic. Working with what was available, we had a local timber yard make up wooden blocks to replicate the rubber ones we use for stabilising a vehicle. In another training scenario we used a live building site which was the perfect location for ladder pitches due to its exposed staircase.
“An additional challenge the various Kenyan fire services face is obtaining good working equipment as well as maintaining and repairing what they already have. This is a challenge with the older donated fire engines as replacement parts are rare and expensive. We continue to do what we can to support them.”
“Since our return they’ve been sending us videos of what they’ve been doing with our training and it’s great to see it put to use.” Paramedics also had the chance to visit a local hospital, which reported the difference the fire service has made in the last year with its ability to rescue people from RTCs as having made a huge impact on the
number of crash victims surviving. The volunteers were joined for part of their trip by Bedfordshire’s Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller CBE and former Chairman of the Authority Cllr Paul Downing, who met with Kenyan Government Officials to discuss the fire and rescue service moving forward.
CFO Fuller explained how the training and supply of equipment is futureproofingthecapabilitiesand providing resilience to small teams of Kenyan firefighters. He added: “Since we’ve been supporting this partnership, the areas that have benefited from equipment have reported many genuine cases where lives have been saved in both fire and rescue circumstances and on our trip this year I was encouraged by the continued passion and dedication of disaster management officials we met.”
Mr Downing added: “The trip was both eye-opening and encouraging. I was able to see first-hand that what BFRS has supplied is being put to best use.
It was good to see the energy and commitment of local staff and good to discuss with the officials how they might expand.”
The trip is only possible thanks to the generosity of the partners involved and the volunteers that contribute.
FF Phillips added: “People have put in a tremendous amount of effort to enable this extraordinary exercise to take place. From the volunteers who drove us to and from the airports, to those colleagues who work in stores, workshops, technical and driving – the list is endless. Thank you all so much. We hope you agree it’s a worthwhile cause.”
If you want to find out more about how your Service can donate equipment or volunteer contact
Fire Fighter Phillips:
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Bedfordshire FRS News Desk

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