Cleveland firefighters in Zimbabwe charity mission

Andy Cook, Dave Bradshaw, Nick Jones, Mike Williamson and Mike Dayson (Operation Florian)

Andy Cook, Dave Bradshaw, Nick Jones, Mike Williamson and Mike Dayson (Operation Florian)

A group of Cleveland firefighters will set off for Africa this Friday (14th August) as part of a worldwide charity mission to pass on skills and expertise to their counterparts in Zimbabwe.

The two-week long visit is part of Cleveland Fire Brigade’s partnership with the international fire and rescue charity Operation Florian and Zimbabwe’s Harare Fire Brigade. This will be the second of five planned visits between 2014 and 2018.

Firefighter Andy Cook, who is based at Redcar Community Fire Station, will lead the team and will be accompanied by Nick Jones, Dave Bradshaw and Mike Williamson along with retired Cleveland firefighter Bill Hatfield.

Andy Cook said: “Cleveland Fire Brigade has been working in partnership with Operation Florian to help develop the Fire and Ambulance Service in Harare, through the donation of surplus equipment, uniform, personal protective equipment and allowing our firefighters to carry out training in Harare.

“This project provides excellent development of our own staff and the equipment that is no longer required in Cleveland is helping to save lives in communities worldwide such as Zimbabwe. Everyone is looking forward to the trip and if we can play our part to assist vulnerable communities around the world then that can only be a good thing.”

Operation Florian is a UK Fire and Rescue Charity that works to assist Fire and Rescue services worldwide through the donation of equipment, appliances and training. Over the past twenty years the charity has worked in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.

The Cleveland team will be joined by a number of firefighters from other UK brigades including Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Royal Berkshire and Kent.

The training provided to the Harare fire-fighters will include Incident Command, road traffic collisions, use of breathing apparatus, emergency care, hazardous materials and fire safety.

Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer with Cleveland Fire Brigade, added: “I am delighted that once again we have been able to join forces with other fire and rescue services in the UK to offer support to our counterparts in Zimbabwe.

“Clearly, the level of advancement of UK fire and rescue services means that we can help by putting our old equipment to good use and by passing on our knowledge and expertise there’s no doubt that this will help to save lives and prevent injuries.

“I wish the Cleveland team well on their mission and applaud them for their commitment to helping others less fortunate than ourselves.”

If you would like to follow the progress of the team whilst in Zimbabwe, visit Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Facebook page ( For further information on Operation Florian visit

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