In April 2019 AFM had the privilege of participating in the first conference of the newly formed Chief Fire Officer’s Association of Kenya. Over 25 counties were represented, including about 3 counties with newly formed fire departments.
Mutual Aid - An agreement among emergency responders to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries due to emergency needs.
Winter is fast approaching the mountains of Lebanon where many Syrian refugee camps and informal settlements are located. Fires are a constant threat in these settlements and even more so in the winter time as the temperatures plummet and the communities struggle for warmth to survive the winter.
Fires in these camps are disastrous and often catastrophic to both life and the few possessions the community members have. Fire can quickly overwhelm the capabilities of the local fire departments and community services leaving an already vulnerable population even more vulnerable.
Three weeks ago, my friends and partners at Polish Aid reached out for mutual aid to complete fire safety trainings and to install firefighting equipment in dozens of settlements to help protect these areas from the ravages of fire before the harsh winter sets in.
Today, I find myself sitting in a small cafe, reflecting on my first 5 days serving here in Lebanon alongside my Polish, Lebanese and Syrian friends. One part of my wonders how in just three weeks time I ended up on an impromptu, last minute trip to Lebanon and I just shake my head and smile. Another part of me wonders what on earth God has up his sleeve as new opportunities to serve others across the world seem to be opening up more and more.
I am intrigued to see what the next two weeks have in store as this group of firefighters from Poland, America and Lebanon works together, in mutual aid, to serve the informal settlements, the surrounding Lebanese communities and the Lebanese fire service.