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UCLan continues Zimbabwean fire charity work

22 April 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Students help fire experts to deliver intensive training

Fire experts and students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have returned to Zimbabwe to continue their charity work training local fire fighters.

Eight fire students and UCLan Senior Lecturer in Fire Safety Engineering Shephard Ndlovu joined fire fighters from Cleveland, Grampian, Lancashire, East and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services, Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Ambulance Service to spend 20 days in Zimbabwe training fire fighters.

The trip is run by charity Operation Florian, a fire service humanitarian charity providing equipment and training to improve fire fighting and rescue capabilities around the world. It’s the third year the charity has run the project which has proved to be so successful that it has expanded from the City of Bulawayo to include a further five fire services from the south of Zimbabwe.

The second year fire safety engineering and fire and leadership students; Taryn Buckley, Nigel Burt, Naomi Burton, Pete Clark, Ross Ferguson, Adam Homer, Sean Marsh and Max Rippington worked with the UK fire and rescue teams to deliver training in areas such as road traffic accident response, breathing apparatus use, decontamination, fire investigation, fire safety and Incident command.

“It was an opportunity to see how fire and rescue services learn and work together. In a degree that focuses on management and leadership this was extremely beneficial to experience first-hand.”

Second year fire and leadership student Ross Ferguson said: “It was an opportunity to see how fire and rescue services learn and work together. In a degree that focuses on management and leadership this was extremely beneficial to experience first-hand.”

UCLan Senior Lecturer in Fire Safety Engineering Shephard Ndlovu commented: “These UCLan students are involved in an international project which has real impact by assisting and supporting communities to improve their fire fighting and rescue infrastructure.

“They are working with experienced UK fire officers and the venture enables our students to help minimise fire incidents through fire awareness campaigns, operation response and training in selected areas. These activities will have a tangible effect upon the fire service organisations in Zimbabwe and the communities they serve.

“I hope it becomes an annual trip and the relationship between UCLan, Operation Florian and other developing countries will continue. It is a fantastic opportunity for the students’ personal development and widening their global experiences.”

“These UCLan students are involved in an international project which has real impact by assisting and supporting communities to improve their fire fighting and rescue infrastructure.”

The partnership has resulted in Operation Florian completing over 5,000 hours of student training with Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Service. Over the past three years the charity has donated nine fire service vehicles and three containers of fire fighting equipment to the Zimbabwean fire services.

Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Thaba Moyo said: “The training and assistance we have received from Operation Florian has increased our capability not only to cover our city but our ability to respond to disasters in other areas. The donations will go a long way in ensuring that we are able to deliver efficient and effective civil protection services.”

Shephard Ndlovu added: “This trip could not have happened without all the support from Operation Florian, UCLan, Aberdeen City Council, City of Bulawayo and the UK Fire and Rescue Services, who donated the equipment.”