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UCLan continues Zimbabwean fire charity work

18 June 2015

Lyndsey Boardman

Students join UK fire fighters to deliver vital training  

Students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have again joined local fire fighters on an annual charity trip to Zimbabwe to help train fire services and provide vital equipment.

The eight fire engineering and fire and leadership students spent 20 days in Zimbabwe with nine UK fire and rescue services, including Lancashire, training six local fire services on key areas including major incident management, advanced community safety, ambulance training, advanced investigations and technical safety. This year, the main focus of their training was on breathing apparatus and road traffic collision.

It is the fifth year the project, run by fire service humanitarian charity Operation Florian, has taken place with UCLan taking 28 students in total over this duration. The venture 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 students aided the UK fire officers in delivering community fire safety campaigns, visiting local schools and colleges and taking part in mock fire drills in selected areas in the city. This year Operation Florian was able to donate two containers of equipment in addition to rope rescue, ambulance, dedicated airline, first aid and IT equipment.

"Our students benefit from working on the job with experienced UK fire officers on something that has a direct impact on the work of the Zimbabwean fire services.”

UCLan Senior Lecturer in Fire Safety Engineering Shephard Ndlovu has co-ordinated the University’s involvement for the last five years. He said: “This partnership is a continuing venture for the charity and has proved to be very successful for all parties. Our students benefit from working on the job with experienced UK fire officers on something that has a direct impact on the work of the Zimbabwean fire services.”

Fire and leadership studies student David Nelson commented: “I really felt we made a difference and the training we provided really will save lives and keep firefighters safe. I made one promise to myself and that is when I can afford it, I will return to this amazing city full of kind and friendly people and to visit the new friends I made in my time there.

“I can only thank the University for funding the trip and organising this fantastic opportunity; also thanks goes to the charity for letting us join them and also being very welcoming and giving us such an amazing experience.”


 

“The knowledge I’ve gained is extraordinary and will be useful when I join the fire service in the near future. I was also lucky enough to take part in an exercise; it was an amazing day.”

Another student from the same course, Crystal Colbert, said: “The knowledge I’ve gained is extraordinary and will be useful when I join the fire service in the near future. I was also lucky enough to take part in an exercise; it was an amazing day.”

Operation Florian continues to make a difference in Zimbabwe to create safer communities. Since the project began, Operation Florian has donated equipment, fire engines and delivered training to various fire services in Zimbabwe covering a population of approximately 4.07 million.

Shephard added: “There continues to be a genuine thirst for knowledge and improvement within all levels of the organisation. We are already seeing an improvement in the Zimbabwe fire services through the use of donated equipment and the skills needed to use it.”

Watch the video from the students' visit.