In May 2019, Africa Fire Mission was able to hire José to work as a Fire Safety Advocate in Kenya. José is a burn survivor and a firefighter He is be working with community groups training the community members in Community Health Evangelism - Fire Safety, helping start local volunteer fire brigades and helping us coordinate trainings for fire service in Kenya. He is ministering to the community by showing him God’s love and through practical fire safety and response. Please keep Jose in your prayers as he works to train community members and to develop volunteer fire departments in Kenya. He recently shared this success with us:
On July 13, I was headed to train staff at MOHI on how to use fire extinguishers, I had my bunker gear with me as I use it to show them how firefighters gear up. I learned that there was a fire nearby. I diverted from my training and went to the fire scene. On scene, I unpacked my bunker gear by the footpath just near the fire engine. I could hear people say in Swahili "this is our fireman". I prepared so fast.
I then went to the fire commander and saluted and said “I'm at your service” for him to assign me to duty. He asked me to do a safety check and see if fire was at the back of the houses. I checked and reported back that all was well. He told me to go give backup to the nozzle man working on the ground. When I got to him, he was extremely exhausted. I took over and asked him to rest as he watched my back. I needed him to watch my back because as firefighters in Kenya, we often get rocks thrown at us because community members believe that we do not come prepared (they think our trucks aren’t filled with water when we arrive because they run out of water (10,000 liters) so quickly). A second fire engine was called and it acted like a water tanker back up. This was a relief because during my community fire prevention and response sessions, I explain to them how firefighters and fire engines operate and why water gets depleted so quickly.
After training nearly 3,000 community members in 3 months’ time, the firefighters are now beginning to be accepted in the community. My dream is to one day see no fire engine with riot cages on its window panes.
After putting out the fire, more community members saw me on scene and were giving me fist bumps as they identified with Africa Fire Mission – their fireman, being on the ground. It was truly humbling. Our little light has started shining. I’m already following up to see how we can train members in this local area for early emergency response.
May all AFM’s partners know that their help is truly bearing fruit and touching lives. We shall not relent on this battle of fire.