In partnership with Bloomington, Indiana Fire Department Africa Fire Mission was able to send gloves, flashlights and a few other safety items as 4 Bloomington Firefighters worked in Freetown with their firefighters. We look forward to other opportunities to partner in Sierra Leone in the future!
AFM instructors provided training for the 4th year in Kenya. Our team of 13 US firefighters and 10 CHE workers from Missions of Hope International provided a week of training in Muranga, Kenya. Training topics included Community Fire Prevention, Tactical Firefighting, Leadership and Emergency Vehicle Operations. Partners from Polish Aid (PCPM) and Kenya Council of Emergency Medical Technicians provided First Aid and EMS training.
It was exciting to see the advancements of the fire service including more volunteer firefighters. The fire services is rapidly expanding their connections with communities through integration of community fire prevention and basic first aid especially with children and motorcycle drivers. Reports of over 500,000 individuals trained in community fire prevention since November 2017!
Team members were also able to visit fire stations in Nairobi, Kenya; Mariakani, Kenya as well as the firefighters at JKIA (Nairobi's international airport).
In June and July, teams from Parkview Christian Church, Orland Park, Illinois and Generations Christian Church, Trinity Florida provided Fire Prevention Training at Missions of Hope International. Over 3500 children and their teachers received life-saving information about preventing and responding to fires. There had been a fire at one of the Missions of Hope schools early in 2018 and the timing of this training was critical in the Mathare Valley as well as in Turkana, Kenya. Where there is no fire brigade.
Nancy Moore, director of programs, met with fire service leadership in Kilifi, Nairobi, Muranga and Kiambu Counties to continue planning for our 2018 fire symposium and to see the progress that is occurring. Kilifi and Nairobi Counties have boreholes under construction at their fire stations; Kiambu county has started a new fire station in Kiambaa – allowing them better access to this growing community “you have to start somewhere” – the fire station is a shack. Nairobi is now able to respond to more fires thanks to a partnership with Belgium Aid which has provided new fire trucks.
Mariakani Fire Brigade in Kilifi County serves about 300,000 people. Since November 2017 they have trained over 60,000 children and adults in fire safety. They are using community development principles to do this by using locally available resources to serve their community in the best way possible. They are proud of their work. The Mariakani Fire Brigade has also started 3 Jr Firefighter programs, one for children that live near the fire station and come to the fire station for programs and 2 programs at local schools. These children have successfully suppressed one small fire that could have resulted in a much larger fire without the knowledge of these children. Mariakani has also started Friends of Firefighters Fellowship - a local church that meets at the fire station
AFM instructors arrived in Kenya to conduct the 3rd All Kenya Fire Academy in Thika, Kiambu County, Kenya. The academy planning committee did an amazing job planning for the academy. Over 200 firefighters attended the academy in the immediate aftermath of a presidential election in Kenya. Firefighters from all corners of Kenya, of all different political views, tribes and faiths came together to learn and discover how to even better serve their communities.
The Kenya Council of EMT's joined Africa Fire Mission to train firefighters in basic medical care, while our team taught classes on leadership, community fire prevention/ education and conducted a hands-on class for new firefighters. Daily devotions started each day and a bible study concluded the day.
The fire academy was opened with a grand opening ceremony attended by the governor of Kiambu County and the academy ended with the firefighters participating in their FIRST ever full-scale emergency drill that featured live fires, a rowdy crowd of community members (replicating the attitudes and beliefs of the communities where the firefighters serve) and victims in need of rescue. We closed the 3rd All Kenya Fire Academy with a graduation celebration full of songs, dancing, certificates, handshakes and hugs.
What would you do if you see a fire? Yell: FIRE FIRE FIRE! What would you do if your clothes catch fire? STOP DROP and ROLL! What would you do if your house is on fire? GET LOW and GET OUT!
Those are the words to our new fire prevention song that was introduced in Kenya during this mission. In the U.S. nearly everyone knows the number for the fire department, how to exit their home safely in a fire and many more fire safety and prevention techniques.
Imagine not knowing how to call the fire department when you needed them, or not knowing what to do if your clothes caught fire. How helpless would you feel? We’ve set out to change that helpless feeling into knowledge across Africa.
A team of 22 people from fire departments, churches and communities all across the U.S. came together in Nairobi to share the message of fire safety and God's love to the children and staff at the Missions of Hope International’s Kosovo School. During this amazing week, the AFM team taught the kids fire safety, shared the Bible and played games with the students, created songs and dances with the students and showed God’s love to the kids and staff.
Now 40 teachers, 1100 school kids, their families and friends in the Mathare Valley of Kenya know what to do and who to call when fires break out and how to safely evacuate their school in case of fire.
Malawi is one of most beautiful places in the world and also one of the poorest. Landlocked in south-central Africa it is a heavily agrarian country that is prone to food insecurity (famine) and long-term power outages.
Nancy and I visited Malawi for 3 weeks in May at the invitation of Namikango Mission to explore how Africa Fire Mission could serve Malawi and partner with Namikango as a way to help their mission connect to the community. Missionaries Ryan and Justine had previously served at Missions of Hope in Kenya before moving to serve in Malawi 3 years ago. They had seen the impact AFM and MOHI had on the Mathare Valley and hoped to do the same in Malawi.
While in Malawi, we met with fire service leaders across the country to find ways AFM could minister to them. We learned that in Malawi, a country roughly the size of Pennsylvania, there are only FOUR fire departments and roughly 200 firefighters. Pennsylvania along has over 1800 fire departments. The country of Malawi has never bought any of their own fire trucks or fire equipment. They have relied on aid from the UK and Japan but they wish to change this. They wish to provide the services their communities needs with the right kind of equipment. The leaders are smart and know what it take to move forward but they just need some support and encouragement which Africa Fire Mission will be providing. The fire service leaders were impressed by the CHE curriculum that AFM has developed and were thrilled that we were able to train them and provide them copies of the training so that they could immediately go out in the communities and share the messages of both fire safety and God's love.
Moving forward, as a first step, we have invited the fire service from Malawi to attend the 2nd All Zambia Fire Academy in Lusaka this September. Zambia is a neighboring country and they Malawians a striving to emulate the successes that have occurred in the fire services across Zambia. We are looking forward to connecting our partners in Zambia and Malawi together as we all work to collaborate and provide strong and effective fire prevention and response services that will keep people safe!
In September, Brad Banz, Hank Clemmensen and Dave and Nancy Moore traveled to Lusaka Zambia for two weeks to teach at the 2nd All Zambia Fire Academy. Nearly 200 firefighters from all across the country traveled to Lusaka to network and learn about community fire prevention, commanding fire and emergency scenes, how to prevent cancer and how to deal with the psychological trauma and PTSD that is so prevalent in the fire service around the world.
During the academy we had the honor of meeting the first female fire chief Zambia has ever had and having her lead one of the main tabletop simulation exercise on the last day of the training.
Our team was able to see the 42 newly purchased fire engines that were in the process of being distributed to the countries fire brigades. These new fire engines will nearly double the firefighting capacity of the fire brigades in Zambia. We are excited to see the progress Zambia is making in upgrading the fire services and we look forward to partnering with the country and the Campaign for a Fire Free Zambia in 2018 as we implement community fire prevention training in Zambia and in 2019 as we host the 3rd All Zambia Fire Academy and expand that academy to also include firefighters from the country of Malawi as well.
Dave & Nancy spent two weeks in Kenya to plan for the fall, to develop new fire prevention curriculum and to work with Missions of Hope to complete a student assessment platform. We met with stakeholders from last year’s academy to review the accomplishments and to plan for this year’s academy. Topics were chosen for the 2017 academy, the location of the academy was secured, Thika Stadium, and partnerships were strengthened. We also had the opportunity to donate an air compressor that can be used to fill firefighter breathing apparatus to the Machakos County Fire Brigade thanks to our partners MSA and High Pressure Systems.
Our 2016 All Kenya Fire Academy trained over 230 Kenyan and Ugandan Firefighters in Machakos County, Kenya. We offered training in Fire Service Leadership, Community Fire Prevention & Response and Emergency Medical Services (including CPR & basic first aid).
During the academy we rolled out our brand new fire prevention curriculum to the attendees and by the end of the week hundreds of community members in Machakos and Nairobi were trained in fire prevention and community fire response techniques.
Our team of 11 instructors were joined by two Polish Fire Trainers and a video crew of the Discovery Channel who recorded a day of the academy for inclusion in an upcoming Discovery Channel Documentary about the impact of global warming on disaster response. The week concluded with a formal graduation ceremony. Local officials spoke and the students were given blessings from both local pastor and Imam. All the students received certificates of accomplishment and a gift from Africa Fire Mission and the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters.
Additionally, we trained nearly 50 CHE trainers and Community members in the Mathare Valley in our Community Health Evangelism Fire Prevention Curriculum Missions of Hope International is facilitating a community fire prevention team with CHE community members that will continue to train others in the community.