Fire Brigade to the rescue of African counterparts

Operation FlorianCleveland Fire Brigade is playing its part to help save lives across the world by donating four surplus fire appliances to Zimbabwe in Africa.

The initiative forms part of the Brigade’s close links with the UK Fire Service and Humanitarian Charity, Operation Florian which has resulted in several Cleveland firefighters passing on their skills and experience to counterparts in less deprived countries.

Just two months ago a six-strong team representing Cleveland Fire Brigade visited Harare in Zimbabwe where they spent three weeks training local firefighters in a range of fire and rescue exercises including measures to prevent injuries and save lives.

Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “The four appliances are around 20 years old and have come to the end of their useful working lives for Cleveland Fire Brigade. They have very little monetary value and it therefore makes sense to donate them to Operation Florian which is an extremely worthwhile charity that does great work around the world to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

“A number of our firefighters have just returned from Harare in Zimbabwe where they passed on their skills and expertise to local firefighters as part of Operation Florian.

“Whilst the firefighters there are quite highly skilled, they just don’t have the equipment that we have and often attend incidents in vans and trucks. Hopefully, we can help to change this with the donation of our surplus appliances.”

Councillor Jan Brunton, Chair of Cleveland Fire Authority, commented: “Having listened to the Cleveland firefighters who have visited Zimbabwe recently, it brings it home to me just how far advanced we are in this country in terms of our fire and rescue services.

“Through Operation Florian there is some tremendous work to support others less privileged than ourselves and I think it is very fitting for Cleveland Fire Brigade to support this charity.”

Mike Doherty, Chair of Operation Florian, said: “The four appliances donated by Cleveland Fire Brigade is a significant contribution to the charity and there is no doubt that this will help to save many lives in the years to come.

“Cleveland Fire Brigade has been incredibly supportive of the work that we do. They not only donate equipment; they show their counterparts in impoverished parts of the world how to use it and their commitment is second to none.”

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