Operation Florian Completes Phase 5 in Bulawayo

Mon 01, Jun, 2015

FIRE AID member, Operation Florian, successfully delivers phase 5 of its project delivery in Zimbabwe. 

On the 13/03/15, a team of 15 Operation Florian members set off to deliver phase 5 of the project being conducted in Zimbabwe. This phase of the project, in Bulawayo, was the result of training achievements and the positive effect of the donated equipment and fire appliances delivered in previous phases of the project. This has resulted in an increase in delivery of service to the large community of Bulawayo.

This year training focused on key fire fighters practical core skills/firefighting training with Gary Higson and Mark Boluslaw delivering the course. It focused on Ladders, Pumps and Pump Operation, Rescues, Basic Hazmat, Breathing Apparatus, and Road Traffic Collision. This course involved firefighters taking part in a series of practical exercises and scenarios developing skills and knowledge learnt on previous phases. The firefighters on this course were also taught equipment maintenance and testing procedures and how to follow a maintenance schedule. This will assist in ensuring that the fire fighters and officers receive upto date training to enhance their operational and other efficiencies. In the phase 5 delivery other fire services were involved in the project which included those from Kwekwe Fire Brigade, Beitbridge Fire Brigade, Hwange Local board, Gwanda Fire Brigade and Plumtree Town Council.

In phase 5, the team continued with the trainer the trainer course – designed to develop personnel who will be capable of continuing the training of Operation Florian. Subjects covered included planning, presentation, assessment and development. This course also supports the future plans of Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Service to establish a Training School. The fire officers chosen for this course were based on those selected on Phase 4. The officers were also trained in the use of ropes and other specialist equipment required to rescue people from heights or confined spaces, the team will provide a specialist rope rescue function, as well as their usual firefighting, rescue and training activities.

On the 30/03/15 an official passing out parade and handover ceremony took place at Bulawayo City Hall. The event was hosted by Bulawayo City Council and the Mayor, a number of the City Councillors, Heads of departments, CFO’s of local Fire Services and VIPs attended the function along with members of commerce, industry and the media.  The event started with welcoming speeches and was followed by several demonstration drills by the firefighters showing new skills and techniques learnt during the training using the donated equipment.

Following the past missions, students from the University of Central Lancashire assisted on the mission in order to develop their experience and individual skills in their respective fields. They were also given the opportunity to assist in the training in their related subjects by shadowing each experienced UK Florian instructor. The students worked with the UK fire officers and took part in activities such as community fire safety campaigns, visits to local schools and colleges.  Incident command courses enabled the students to explore a range of leadership skills and synthesise strategies which can improve the performance of individuals and organisation. The partnership with University of Central Lancashire is a continuing venture for the charity and has proved to be very successful for all parties. The students have produced a report of their experiences and how it has developed them for the University. 

“……the knowledge I learnt was extraordinary and will play useful when I join the fire service in the near future………… I was also lucky enough to take part in the exercise it was an amazing day and learnt a vast amount of knowledge and skillsCrystal Colbert

I really felt we made a difference and the training we provided really will save lives and keep firefighters safe. I made one promise to myself and this is when I can afford it, I will return to this amazing city full of kind and friendly people and to visit the new friends I made in my time there. I can only finish by thanking the University for funding the trip and organising this fantastic opportunity, also thanks goes to the charity for letting us join them and also being very welcoming and giving us such an amazing experienceDavid Nelson.

“……….was an excellent opportunity for me, as it enabled me not only to work as a firefighting team with the local fire fighters but also practice my own hand at managing an incident and leading a team………..I also took part in some of the drills and played an active role in their team development throughout the week. At the end of the course there was an exam that took place to test each fire fighter and ensure that each of them learnt something. Everybody passed with flying colours and I could tell that each of them were proud of themselves and one anotherLiam Ford

Operation Florian continues to make a difference in Zimbabwe and helps to create safer communities. Since starting operating in Zimbabwe, Operation Florian has donated equipment, fire engines and delivered training to various fire services in Zimbabwe covering a population of approximately 4.07 million.

There was a genuine willingness and hope that this relationship with Operation Florian would continue and that there will be a Phase 6 mission in 2016. This next mission would possibly include specific courses for other Fire Authorities. The number of agreed courses would dictate the size of the Operation Florian team and the number of students from University of Central Lancashire.