‘Extinguishing’ bad habits in Pakistan: Fire-fighters take UK’s gold standard training to Punjab
The future of Pakistan’s fire and rescue services are being shaped right here in Britain as a team of English professionals continue to train up the next generation of fire-fighters.
Spearheaded by the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA), the training project was officially launched last year after a group of representatives flew out to the Punjab region for a fact finding mission.
Amongst the travelling contingent was Kirklees District Prevention Manager, Mohammed Ali.
The 41-year-old, from Bradford, who is also the Interim Vice-Chair of AFSA, acted as project manager for the inaugural visit which helped to establish links between the two nation’s and their fire services.
That trip was followed up earlier this year by a team of three volunteers who went out to provide further training on fire prevention and open new offices in the south Asian country.
Despite only completing their first training visit less than 18 months ago, Mohammed says the impact of British training methods can already be seen.
“The visits we have carried out so far have been about ensuring the next generation of fire-fighters will receive EU-standard training and understand the correct procedures to follow,” he said. “We received assurances from officials in Pakistan that they will commit to these standards.
“What I have already noticed is that the project is going to be bigger than I could have imagined and that our work is starting to make a difference.
“The advice we gave during consultations regarding the academy has been listened to and it all means that the safety of fire-fighters in Pakistan will only be improved.
“At the end of the day, you cannot save a person’s life in a fire if you cannot save your own.”
Mohammed is hoping to join the next group of AFSA representatives when they visit the academy next month, providing hands on training and delivering training equipment.
Joining the group is a huge container full of supplies – including dozens of jackets, trousers and boots, donated by the West Midlands Fire Service.
Appeals are still being made to help fund the shipping costs as Mohammed explained
“So far we have focussed much of our training on fire prevention and disaster management but we are now planning on sending over a training officer for six-to-eight weeks to work with the academy on the operational side,” he said.
“The donation of equipment from the West Midlands team will enable the next generation of fire-fighters to receive the hands on experience they need.
“Now all we need to do is raise enough funds to send the supplies over where they will be fully utilised.”
If you would like to help sponsor AFSA’s cargo of equipment, please contact Mohammed Ali on 07786 431 409.