24 June 2014
Students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have accompanied local fire experts on a trip to Zimbabwe as part of an annual charity visit to train local fire fighters.
Eight students and UCLan Senior Lecturer in Fire Safety Engineering Shephard Ndlovu spent 20 days in Zimbabwe helping to train six local fire services on key areas such as major incident management, advanced community safety, ambulance training, advanced investigations and technical safety.
The trip is run by charity Operation Florian, a fire service humanitarian charity providing equipment and training to improve firefighting and rescue capabilities around the world.
Firefighters from all over the UK are involved in the charity and it’s the fourth year it 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.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for students to get involved in international projects and help people from disadvantaged backgrounds"
This year the charity has donated seven fire engines and three containers of equipment. UCLan students were able to shadow experienced UK fire officers and worked with the local fire fighters to deliver selected topics.
UCLan Senior Lecturer in Fire Safety Engineering Shephard Ndlovu commented: “The UCLan students worked 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.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for students to get involved in international projects and help people from disadvantaged backgrounds. This project has a direct impact on the work of firefighters in six services in Zimbabwe by assisting and supporting communities to improve their firefighting and rescue infrastructure.”
Liam Lockyer, a 21-year-old second year fire and leadership studies student, commented: “I learned so much from working with the UK fire services and taking part in exercises such as door sweeping, stairs procedures and casualty carrying whilst wearing breathing apparatus. I really had the trip of a lifetime and I’d love to do it all over again.”
Bulawayo City Council Mayor Martin Moyo said: “The partnership we have with Operation Florian is not something we can take for granted, but we continue to cherish. As the city of Bulawayo we recognise the importance of emergency training and it is for that reason that we continue to place importance to the visits and training that we receive from the Operation Florian team.
A number of the students wrote a diary outlining their experience with Operation Florian which can be read below.