Tag Archive: AFSA

Not all heroes wear capes: Awards ceremony praises the unsung heroes from emergency services

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PROFESSIONAL PRAISE: Kirklees Prevention Officer, Mohammed Ali, was named as the recipient of the AFSA ‘Outstanding Endeavour’ award

PROFESSIONAL PRAISE: Kirklees Prevention Officer, Mohammed Ali, was named as the recipient of the AFSA ‘Outstanding Endeavour’ award

The annual Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) awards returned to London this past weekend, where emergency services were commended for their efforts over the past 12 months.

Established to raise the profile of Asian staff in the fire and rescue service, the organisation now works alongside 29 stations across the UK as well as three non-FRS organisations.

The awards night commended people in eight different categories, from man and woman of the year, to awards for equality and leadership, with people from across the UK receiving awards.

Locally, Kirklees’ prevention officer and AFSA vice-chair, Mohammed Ali, was presented with the ‘Outstanding Endeavour’ award.

Speaking about the accolade, he said: “When I was told that I had won the award I was overwhelmed to be honest.

“As the vice-chair of the organisation, it came as a big surprise to me that I had even been considered. It was proud moment when I accepted the trophy on stage.”

CONGRATULATIONS: PC Amjad Ditta, Positive Action Co-ordinator with West Yorkshire Police, was highly commended in the ‘Positive Action’ category (pictured receiving his award from ex CFO Peter Dartford from Staffordshire FRS)

CONGRATULATIONS: PC Amjad Ditta, Positive Action Co-ordinator with West Yorkshire Police, was highly commended in the ‘Positive Action’ category (pictured receiving his award from ex CFO Peter Dartford from Staffordshire FRS)

The award is presented annually to an AFSA member who has gone ‘above and beyond’ their call of duty.

As well as promoting AFSA across the country, Mohammed’s work in Kirklees, raising the profile of the fire service in all communities, as well as his ongoing charity work, were highlighted as reasons for his selection.

“Just being a part of the awards was a privilege for me,” he added.

“During my time with AFSA, I have seen how much impact an organisation like this can have on the way we work.

“It has been great working alongside these members for the past three years and I have to thank them all for their continued support.”

Also representing Yorkshire at the awards ceremony was PC Amjad Ditta - Positive Action Co-ordinator with West Yorkshire Police  and Balvinder Singh Bains – Business Support Manager with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services.

The latter was nominated for the Outstanding Endeavour award, whilst PC Ditta was highly commended in the Positive Action category.

WINNER: Balvinder Singh Bains, Business Support Manager with WYFRS, was shortlisted in the ‘Outstanding Endeavour’ category

WINNER: Balvinder Singh Bains, Business Support Manager with WYFRS, was shortlisted in the ‘Outstanding Endeavour’ category

Previously speaking about what his role with the Force entails, PC Ditta said: “West Yorkshire Police will always be committed to bringing the best people into the service.

“However, the only way of doing this is by representing the community of which we serve. This isn’t the 1960’s or 70’s where the typical profile of the police was just white British.

“Today we have a number of ethnic minority communities in the region and people from EU countries. Only by recruiting different community representatives will we be able to learn.

“We do not have all the answers. We need to know if you go into a house, do you need to take your shoes off? We need to establish what cultural differences exist.

“That’s why we require a diverse workforce and that’s why this job is open to people of all backgrounds. It is the best job I’ve ever done.”

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‘Amazing, educating experience’

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A team of four firefighters from the UK travelled almost 4,000 miles last month as they embarked on a unique visit to Pakistan and helped establish a new educational link between the two countries.

Spearheaded by the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA), members of AFSA visited the South Asian country for five days with the aim of providing advice and recommendations on ways to improve the country’s current fire service.

TRAINING: Members of the Punjab Rescue showed their current training drills to the four visitors who offered recommendations and advice on ways to improve performance

TRAINING: Members of the Punjab Rescue showed their current training drills to the four visitors who offered recommendations and advice on ways to improve performance

A fact finding visit saw the team experience, first hand, how the Punjab Rescue team is currently run, with everything from training, to medical responses covered.

Muhammad Ali, Kirklees District Prevention Manager, was one member of the group who took part in the visit, and although he says it was ‘exhausting’, he added that it was ‘definitely worthwhile’.

“The work we were doing over there was crucial in helping to ensure the country’s fire service is continually improving,” he said.

“We covered so much in such a short space of time that at points we were doing 12 or 14 hour shifts in the heat, but now we have the information it was definitely worthwhile.

“This first visit was about finding out the facts. We needed to see first-hand how everything was run and then take all this information back to the UK to analyse and provide recommendations.

“We are now looking at how to further develop this programme and hopefully make the trip a regular thing.”

The group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Punjab Rescue group before leaving, which reaffirmed both parties commitment to the newly formed partnership.

VISIT: The four team members from AFSA were warmly welcomed by men and women from Punjab Rescue, where they worked for five days last month

VISIT: The four team members from AFSA were warmly welcomed by men and women from Punjab Rescue, where they worked for five days last month

Activities such as tower training, reviewing fire engine specifications and simulation designs at the soon-to-be-launched academy, were just some of the undertakings the British representatives partook in, whilst Muhammad also helped host a lecture at Lahore University for aspiring architects in regard to fire protection advice.

Advice and recommendation was given on the spot by the AFSA representatives at points and changes were even made in front of their own eyes.

“When we were looking through plans for the new fire tower training facility for example, one of our members pointed out a few recommendations which were immediately undertaken,” Muhammad said.

“It was great to see them responding in such a positive manner because they wanted to learn.”

He added: “When the group returns, I believe a large focus will be on the community unit, as that was one area which was highlighted for improvements. We need to get more information out to schools and colleges but that is something that will hopefully be brought up next time.

“It is now just a job of looking through all our information and finding the best way forward.”

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