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Training and equipment provision for Fire Brigades in Kenya and Ethiopia

Kenya’s and Ethiopia’s economies and populations are developing very fast. In the two countries, cities are encroaching on new areas that used to be rural and are experiencing urban sprawl, with many new multi-storey buildings erected in the centres. This situation creates multiple challenges previously unknown to the fire service, from fires of multi-storey buildings, to the need to evacuate people from higher storeys, to fires in shantytowns.

Both countries have no institutionalised training procedure for firemen in place – neither on the central level nor at individual rescue and fire brigades. Firemen with longer service record are still missing some key skills, but also the knowledge how to transfer their experience to new recruits.

The project was carried out in five cities:

•             Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara region in Ethiopia (a population of 300,000) – the training was also attended by firemen from two other cities: Gonder and Dessie.

•             Hawassa, the capital of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region in Ethiopia (a population of 300,000) — the training was attended by firemen from two other cities.

•             Murang’a, the capital of a county under the same name in Kenya, with a population of 950,000.

•             Thika, the capital of Kiambu county at Nairobi’s norther outskirts, with a population of 1.6 m.

•             Machakos, the capital of a county under the same name, with a population of 1.3 m.

The project is related to previous PCPM projects financed from Polish Aid funds for fire service training that had been carried out in South Sudan (2013) and Kenya (2014).

Training and equipment provision for Fire Brigades in Kenya and Ethiopia

The project to provide additional equipment and training to fire brigades was carried out in Kibabu, Machakos and Murang’a counties in Kenya and in the cities of Bahir Dar and Hawassa in Ethiopia. Fire-fighting equipment was delivered between March and August 2015. Training in Ethiopia was held in July 2015 (in Bahir Dar, also attended by firemen from Gonder and Dessie) and in October (in Hawassa, also attended by firemen from Hossaena and Sodo from SNNP province). Training in Kenya was provided over five weeks, from late July to late August 2015. It covered basic and advanced fire training, as well as rope and medical rescue. In the case of Kenya’s Kiambu county, the courses followed up and expanded on a 2014 training programme run by the Polish Aid Volunteering Programme.

The project considerably upgraded the professional skills of the fire service in Kenya’s Kiambu county. For example, Thika’s fire service were criticised for ineptitude and slow response in 2014, but in October 2015 they successfully rescued children from a burning building. This project was cited as an example of EU development aid for Kenya in the EU Blue Book published by the Delegation of the European Commission to Kenya in 2016.

Training and equipment provision for Fire Brigades in Kenya and Ethiopia

Project highlights:

•             Training for 243 firemen and rescue personnel in Kenya and Ethiopia, including 52 in Ethiopia and 191 in Kenya.

•             A total of 412 people took part in the training, which means that on average one participant attended 1.7 courses.

•             Equipment worth PLN 195,248.39 was donated to fire brigades in Kenya, including one vehicle adapted as a light fire engine.

•             Equipment worth PLN 82,265.92 was donated to fire brigades in Ethiopia, in addition to USD 15,000, which is the value of a vehicle donated in kind by the authorities of Amhara region.