Bedfordshire firefighters and paramedics visit Kenya to help save lives

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They will be joined by paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service

Bedfordshire firefighters are joining forces with other emergency services to help save lives in Kenya later this month.

A group of 12 firefighters from Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire will be sharing their knowledge and skills with their counterparts in Kenya.

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They will be joined by paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) for the two-week trip.

Firefighters were last out in Kenya in 2019Firefighters were last out in Kenya in 2019
Firefighters were last out in Kenya in 2019

Former Bedfordshire FRS firefighter Ray Willet co-founded the project with Fred Akandi, who lives in Dunstable but was born in Meru. They established the partnership with Kenya over a decade ago, with volunteers first visiting in 2009.

Since then three fire and rescue services and the ambulance trust have donated tens of thousands of pounds of life-saving equipment.

The focus of the trip is to train Kenyan firefighters on the equipment most recently donated and pass on valuable skills and experience to help them on their firefighting mission.

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Bedfordshire FRS donated two fire engines fully loaded with equipment at the end of 2018, along with bags of old personal protective equipment (PPE). In 2020 Angloco donated several ex-LFB fire engines and recently GE Health Care donated an engine from a site that is being decommissioned.

Crew Commander Ryan Phillips, based at Kempston and Biggleswade, who helped organise the trip, said: “It’s a massively rewarding experience; you see an immediate change in the people you’re training and see their confidence grow.”

Activities include basic firefighter training on using the fire engine, operating the pump, running out hose, vehicle marshalling, ladder pitching variations, knots and lines, hauling aloft and getting jets to work, as well as basic first responder skills, immediate medical care and bandaging techniques taught by ambulance staff.

The trip is only possible thanks to the generosity of the partners involved and volunteers that contribute. Special thanks go to Delta Fire and GE Health Care for their donations.

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CC Phillips added: “People have put in a tremendous amount of effort to enable this extraordinary exercise can take place. From the volunteers who drive us to and from the airports, colleagues who work in stores, workshops, technical and driving thank you all so much.”

If you want to find out more about the trip or how to donate equipment or volunteer, email [email protected]