Devon and Somerset firefighters have travelled to Nepal this week to provide training to the country's fire service, at the request of the United Nations Development Programme.

The Nepal Fire Service is ill-equipped, with firefighters often attending severe incidents without any protective clothing or adequate equipment, including breathing apparatus and there are very few fire appliances with limited access to water through the hydrant system.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Pete Smith, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: "We are pleased to be supporting this humanitarian initiative to help our firefighter colleagues in Nepal who do not have the same level of protection and training as those in the UK.

"The role of the firefighter is continually changing and they need appropriate training and equipment to do their job safely."

The UNDP has a five year co-operation agreement with the Government of Nepal to provide support to strengthen its disaster risk management, including improvements to the fire service. The team from Devon and Somerset will be providing training on firefighting techniques and have been asked to identify gaps and priorities in their existing equipment provision.

Firefighters from DSFRS have been visiting the country for a number of years, and have donated protective clothing, equipment and vehicles, which are no longer up to stringent UK standards but still have value, to fire stations in Kathmandu.

During the last visit, the team met with officials from the UNDP and, following a report on their short term recommendations, the Service was requested to run a six week training course for emergency service trainers.

This year's team will comprise of firefighter Dan Gillard based at Yeovil; Watch Manager Eddie Holden, Area Trainer based at Newton Abbot; Watch Manager Keith Swallow, Area Trainer based at Plympton; and Watch Commander Ben Williams, Crownhill (Plymouth) Red Watch with high priority has been given to organising the training of firefighter trainers, in order to increase their response capacity to fire disaster. 

Posted 26/10/2012 by