A FIREFIGHTER has returned from a three-week trip to Africa that helped provide vital training for the local people.
Roy Barraclough, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service fire station commander for Worthing and Adur, visited Bulawayo, in Zimbabwe, as part of a visit organised by UK charity Operation Florian.
The visit was attended by Mr Barraclough, along with 14 others from across the country and fire degree students from the University of Central Lancashire.
Together, they helped teach fire services from the city and surrounding towns important skills, ranging from theoretical and practical skills of using breathing apparatus, to dealing with road traffic collisions.
Mr Barraclough said: “Bulawayo is a city of around one million people but their fire service is not nearly as well trained as we would expect in the UK. “The aim of this project is to build the resilience and capability of the local fire service by giving them the tools and training they need to do the job.”
In addition to training, the city took delivery of three fire engines, a turntable ladder and two containers of equipment and uniforms.
Mr Barraclough said it was a great experience and opportunity to make a difference.
He explained: “This is a great opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people in Zimbabwe, but also to give local firefighters the opportunity to learn new skills that will make them both safer in their work, allow them to carry out their work more professionally and prevent smaller fires spreading to become large blazes.”
He added: “It was a great experience to be part of this team and a very rewarding and humbling experience.”
Mr Barraclough has taken part in a number of other similar visits in his role.
To learn more about the work of Operation Florian, which first sent a team to Zimbabwe in March, 2011, visit www.operationflorian.com