The United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) manages an International Development Programme (IDP) which aims to identify and work alongside countries who wish to develop their vehicle rescue and pre-hospital care capability – sharing experience with rescue and medical services around the world.
A key method used by UKRO is the development of rescue challenges as a means of developing certain skills. Further information on rescue challenges can be found here: www.ukro.org/International-Development/
In 2003, the UKRO was approached to provide support to the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS). As a result, a team of UKRO visited Ghana in 2003 to provide GNFS personnel with training. Advice on operational command, technical fire safety, first aid, breathing apparatus and aerial appliance training was given.
The UKRO IDP returned again in 2004, the aim of the visit was to carry out a training needs analysis at the GNFS Fire Academy in the capital, Accra. From this a comprehensive report, setting out the findings and recommendations, was published to assist both the GNFS and the Ghanaian Government. The visit also saw the donation of five frontline fire appliances, one aerial ladder, a minibus and much-needed rescue equipment and personal protective clothing to GNFS.
In 2005 a third visit took place to assess the impact of the first two years’ training. The team witnessed significant improvements, with GNFS personnel demonstrating a high degree of technical and practical competence as a result of the training. The principle work undertaken in 2007 was the provision of 100 reconditioned hydraulic rescue kits and their distribution throughout Ghana. At the same time, Ghanaian instructors trained under this project, rolled out training across Ghana. In 2008 Ghana held its first National Rescue Challenge, with the winners, a team from the Volta region, going on to represent Ghana at the 2008 World Rescue Challenge in Wales.
This project, still ongoing, has had a considerable impact in assisting the Ghana National Fire Service to improve its post-crash response by building its capacity to deliver training and develop its membership of the World Rescue Organisation. This has included regular training programme delivered in Ghana to all levels within the fire service and training of Ghana National Fire Service personnel in the UK. The project is focused on extrication but has also supported strategic direction, fire safety and breathing apparatus. The project has facilitated the donation of equipment from UK Fire and Rescue services which has included fire engines, a turntable ladder, 70+ set of hydraulic rescue equipment and associated equipment.
UKRO has delivered training to over 300 firefighters in Ghana and the Ghana National Fire Service now has instructors trained to an international standard. The fire service has specific vehicles dedicated to post-crash rescue and hydraulic rescue equipment at all accident prone areas. Ghana National Fire Service has run three national extrication challenges and sent winning teams to take part in World Rescue Challenge events in 4 countries.
The IDP, assisted by the World Rescue Organisation, has helped form strong partnerships with key organisations, including the World Health Organisation, the Global Road Safety Partnership and Ghana Road Safety Commission, to reduce road deaths in Ghana. Throughout this project the British High Commission and several UK fire and Rescue services have assisted with the provision of trainers, their funding and shipment costs.