ClevelandFirefighters from Cleveland Fire Brigade have returned from Zimbabwe after two weeks of intensive training for the fire service in the country's capital Harare. 

Working with the charity Operation Florian and other UK fire service personnel they gave courses and demonstrations in firefighting, incident command, road traffic accidents, breathing apparatus and fire safety.

The team also fitted smoke alarms in local orphanages, handed over two fire appliances formally in service in Cleveland and gave basic medical training for paramedics.

It is the third year running that Cleveland Fire Brigade has been out to Harare with more missions already planned.

Grangetown Crew Manager Mike Williamson said: “It is really good to know that we are making a difference and saving lives. While we were there two of our old Cleveland appliances were called out to a road traffic accident. This showed our support is really working and helping a fire service severely in need of better resources and training

“Alongside the fire service training, the team was also able to get out in the local community and visit factories, care homes and orphanages to promote fire safety and install smoke alarms.”

Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer, Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “I am immensely proud that our highly skilled firefighters are utilising their training and expertise to provide valuable support and equipment for our colleagues in Harare. It is valuable work and we look forward to it continuing and providing the help and support that is so urgently needed.”

Councillor Jan Brunton, Chair of Cleveland Fire Authority, said: “We are delighted to be involved with such valuable work. There is strong evidence that staff involved in these projects improve their skills, knowledge and experience across a wide range of competencies and can secure valuable managerial and personal development which will ultimately benefit the Authority as well as the people of Harare.”