Florian Continues Development in Zimbabwe

Tue 31, Mar, 2015

FIRE AID founding member, Operation Florian, has been working with Zimbabwe since 2009. Their first mission took place in 2011 with the main area of focus being the City of Bulawayo and subsequently Harare too. In December 2014, 3 members of Operation Florian – Michael Doherty, Anthony Burscough and Shephard Ndlovu – visited Zimbabwe to assess the work that has been done since the start of the project.

Operation Florian has been working with Zimbabwe since 2009. The first mission took place in 2011, with the main area of focus being the City of Bulawayo (Zimbabwe’s second largest city) which is situated in the south of the country. In December 2014, 3 members of Operation Florian – Michael Doherty, Anthony Burscough and Shephard Ndlovu – visited Zimbabwe to assess and evaluate the work that has been done since the start of the project

The evaluation was conducted through focus groups, one-to-one meetings and evaluation forms with all participants at all levels expressing their views. This information will assist Operation Florian in its development work with both Bulawayo City Council (BCC), Harare City Council (HCC) and other local authorities involved in the project. Florian’s main aim is to see Zimbabwe Fire Services develop to provide an improved fire and rescue service.

A summary of the evaluation visit and Florian’s work in Zimbabwe can be found here:

Harare Visit 14th – 16th of December 2014

In Harare, phase 1 took place in September 2014, resulting in the Fire and Ambulance Service being better equipped and trained and this will continue in the next couple of years as the project progresses. During the December 2014 evaluation visit, discussions were held looking at the partnership objectives for the future and way forward between Operation Florian and HCC. The discussions focused on establishing if Operation Florian is meeting the needs of Harare City Council and Harare Fire Brigade, and the partnership between Operation Florin, Cleveland Fire Brigade and Harare Fire Brigade.

L-R: Shephard Ndlovu, CFO Sevias Mugava, The Mayor Clr Bernard Manyenyeni, Michael Doherty, Anthony Burscough

Extensive issues face Harare Fire and Ambulance Service, such as,

  • Provision of an efficient and effective emergency service in the face of limited resources.

  • Re-equipping the Fire and Ambulance Service to appropriate standards.

  • Setting and ensuring fire safety standards are met with regards to buildings, public places etc.

  • Ensuring that the officers and instructors receive up to date training to enhance their operational and other efficiencies.

It would be impossible to resolve the above issues in one project, therefore, requires structuring the project over a number of phases emulating the model used in Bulawayo and in other projects. This approach was been discussed with Harare City Council officials, The mayor Clr Bernard Manyenyeni,  Dr. Chingome – Director of Human Capital and Public Safety and Chief Fire Officer Mr Sevias Mugava and agreed in principle as the way forward. There is already  a mutual understand and a willingness to work with Operation Florian as a result of what Harare City Council has seen in the development of Bulawayo City Council and their Fire and Ambulance Service.

L-R: Anthony Burscough, Michael Doherty, Dr Chingombe, CFO Sevias Mugava, Shephard Ndlovu

A review of the short term impact of phase one which took place in n September 2014 was conducted and  the Harare Fire and Ambulance Service is now committed to work in partnership with Operation Florian to  help make a real difference to both the Harare Fire and Ambulance Service and the local community. The meeting also explored how the five year partnership is likely to look like and what is expected to be achieved based on the short, medium and long term needs of Harare Fire and Ambulance Service.

Further meetings were held with Mr. M.S. Pawadyira, Director of the Department of Civil Protection at the Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development to discussion how his department can collaborate with Operation Florian in assisting various fire services in the Zimbabwe. The team discovered that a further area that needs attention is community fire safety, especially in Harare Fire and Ambulance Service to inform the public so that they are aware of the simple measures that can be adopted to reduce fire risk but also to enable the community to be aware of the emergency phone numbers so that they can call the fire service as early as possible.

Anthony Burchough, Mr. M.S. Pawadyira,  Shephard Ndlovu, CFO Sevia Mugava, Michael Doherty

Bulawayo 17th – 19th of December 2014

The team then travelled to Bulawayo to conduct meetings and assessments. The meetings provided information to allow the team to plan future missions. The outcome of the visit has led to several recommendations to be made ranging from the medium term to long term objectives which include  amongst other issues the continuation of donating of equipment to Fire services in Zimbabwe, developing partnership with Bulawayo City Council in opening Training Centre, Planning, develop and running an annual Fire and Emergency Services conference, developing a project sustainability strategy , engaging other fire services and organisations outside Harare and Bulawayo. through Zimbabwe. Future work will focus on working with Department of Civil Protection at the Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development to improve fire service is Zimbabwe.

A summary of Florian’s work in Bulawayo can be found here in chronological order:

Phase 1 (March 2011) – The main focus of this mission was the donation of a Fire Appliance and a 20ft container of equipment, mainly consisting of PPE, BA and RTC equipment. A team of 5 Operation Florian personnel carried out a 2 week training programme based round RTC, BA and Technical Fire Safety. Following the success of Phase 1 the first mission in 2011 and the forming of a developing relationship with Bulawayo City Council (projects main sponsor) a partnership evolved with them. This led to an agreement that they would sponsor the next phase. It was also decided to have guest students on future projects due to a shared vision between Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and Operation Florian to expand the project to other areas in Zimbabwe. It was also agreed to look into the feasibility of University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) joining the partnership to develop fire degree students within the project. Bulawayo is twinned with Aberdeen and it was proposed to reignite this dormant relationship.

Phase 2 (April 2012) – This mission involved the donation of 2 fire appliances and a 20ft container of equipment. The main training was focused round taking them to the next level in Technical Fire Safety, BA and RTC. There was also an introduction of Incident Command, Community Fire Safety and First Aid. Discussions took place with BCC to increase the vision of sharing involvement in the project to external Fire Services and agreement was reached to involve 5 on the next phase, increase the number of guest students and build the relationship with UCLAN.

Phase 3 (April 2013) – Due to the involvement of the external fire services, 2 containers of equipment were shipped and 4 fire appliances and Turn Table Ladder. This training programme consolidated and expanded RTC, BA, Incident Command, Technical Fire Safety and Community Fire Safety. New subjects were introduced including high rise, hazmat, decontamination, turn table ladder, ventilation and Fire Investigation. Training of Ambulance personnel was also introduced.

Phase 4 (June 2014) – This phase of the mission involved the shipment of 2 containers of equipment, a fire appliance and a hydraulic platform. Training consisted of further advancement in Technical Fire Safety, Fire Investigation, Community Fire Safety, Incident Command and turn table ladder. New subjects were introduced, Transport Incidents, Ambulance Trauma Life Support, Train the Trainer and Introduction to Managing Incidents.

Shephard Ndlovu, Michael Doherty, Acting Mayor Cllr. Hlabani Norman, Chamber Secretary, Mrs Zhou, SDO Linos Phiri, Anthony Burschough

Reflecting from discussion undertaken it was evident that response to fires has improved significantly. The morale of fire and ambulance services personnel was noticeable to be positive. The Operation Florian team would like to thank all the members of the Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Service, Bulawayo City Council, Harare Fire and Ambulance Services and Harare City Council for their hospitality and support during the visit.


Fire and ambulance personnel – Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Services