FIRE AID attends members Tajikistan project handover ceremony

Fri 18, Oct, 2019

In September 2019, the Republican Fire Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan and the UK Embassy in Tajikistan hosted an official handover ceremony bringing to a close our latest FIRE AID project. The project brought together FIRE AID partners the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST), Staffordshire Emergency Services Humanitarian Aid Association (SESHAA) and Women in the Fire Service (WFS) to improve and develop the capacity of the Republican Fire Service to respond quickly and effectively to incidents. FIRE AID members worked with local partners, the Young Generation Tajikistan (YGT) and Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), to deliver two modern fire appliances alongside equipment familiarisation training and two rope rescue training programmes – one of which focused directly on female UK fire and rescue service personnel training female search and rescue volunteers from Tajikistan and Afghanistan.The project successfully raised the profile of female search and rescue teams in the two countries as well as encouraging new partnerships with the Republican Fire Service.

Instructor Emily Butler from London Fire Brigade (LFB) commented on her experience: “This international project has been so rewarding proving that women are just as skilled as men within fire and rescue services. The appreciation for both the training and equipment donations has been overwhelming and the knowledge, skills and confidence gained by us all will allow us to be more effective on a day to day basis.”

SESHAA’s team of instructors identified the need for training and equipment in the area of rope rescue to improve the rescue time for road traffic casualties during an initial scoping visit to Tajikistan in November 2017. Given that over 1,500 people die annually from road incidents in Tajikistan, which is also home to one of the world’s highest and most treacherous roads, the Pamir Highway, improving the capacity of emergency response teams is vital. The Pamir mountain range is an area of increasing tourism, but it is extremely remote. It can be very difficult for emergency services to reach casualties who have been involved in a fall, or who may be in hard-to-reach areas, without relevant rope rescue training and specialised equipment. Our programme was based on a ‘train the trainers’ model – training over 25 fire fighters to instructor level so they can pass their knowledge and skills onto others across the fire service. We also provided 40 rope rescue kits and over 80 rescue slings for casualty extraction.

The handover ceremony was attended by HMA Matthew Lawson, General Ibrohimzoda of the Republican Fire Service and Lord Sheik Mohamed among other distinguished guests. Representing the project team was Serghei Diaconu of EASST, Gary Dumighan of SESHAA, Emily Butler and Nikki Upton of WFS, who also provided one day refresher training on the donated equipment.

Gary Dumigham from SESHAA spoke of the event: “it was a great honour to share our project successes in Tajikistan in both equipment donations and professional training with the Ambassador and the General. Both were very impressed by our achievements over such a short period of time. We look forward to returning to Tajikistan in the near future to continue our valuable work with the fire service”

Finally, we would like to thank the UK Embassy in Tajikistan for funding the project and HMA Ambassador Hugh Philpot for initially supporting the project. We would also like to thank General Ibrohimzoda for his collaboration and support which was essential for the delivery of a successful project. Lastly, we would like to thank all the partner organisations, EASST, SESHAA, WFS, LFB, the UK Embassy in Belarus, BKA Belarus, YGT and AKAH for their hard work and commitment to the project.