BULAWAYO City Council yesterday received 11 fire engines and five containers of equipment from Operational Florian (OF) in a bid to enhance and improve local authority services.
OF is an international humanitarian charity providing fire engines, equipment and training to the developing world to save lives from fires and disasters.
Speaking at the welcome reception of OF at Mystique on Tuesday, mayor Martin Moyo said the visit by the team was laudable.
“The OF mission to Bulawayo continues to strengthen and revive our sister relationship with the city of Aberdeen in Scotland,” he said.
“We have an Aberdonian participating in this mission and this shows the level of engagement between the cities of Bulawayo, Aberdeen and OF.”
Moyo said the city was honoured with the commitment that Aberdeen had demonstrated.
“We assure the team that the city of Bulawayo values this relationship and is equally committed to future interactions for the benefit of the two communities,” he said.
The British-based humanitarian charity is conducting a two-week training session for the country’s ambulance and fire services as part of an annual charity visit to train local fire fighters.
Moyo said the training was a great achievement for the country as it sought to enhance and resuscitate emergency services.
“The transfer of relevant skills and exposure to modern technology during training will undoubtedly go a long way towards improving the responsiveness and efficiency of emergency services in Zimbabwe,” he said.
OF team leader, Tony Burscough said the training was meant to enhance skills and knowledge of emergency service providers in the country so as to meet international standards.
“We will be offering about 18 courses, which include ambulance staff training, train the trainer, turntable ladder refresher, fire–fighter practical training, advanced fire investigation, technical fire safety, breathing apparatus and road traffic collision,” he said.
“We brought hydraulic rescue equipment for road traffic accidents, compressors, fire fighters tunics, pumps, boots, breathing apparatus and ambulance equipment because confidence is built through the equipment you will be using.”
Burscough said among the trainers were eight undergraduate degree students from the University of Central Lancashire, who are using their experiences to assist OF with the training sessions.
He said they planned to develop Bulawayo as a training centre so as to expand brigades in Zimbabwe.
“This is the charity we started in 1995 all over the world and we realised that Bulawayo had the potential when it comes to the fire brigade,” he added.