Firefighters Without Borders is working closely with several First Nation Communities to address the dire needs that continue to exist relating to fire safety. We are pleased to have engaged several key stakeholders, including several First Nations Fire Chiefs, Independent First Nations Alliance (IFNA) and provincial government agencies. As part of our sustainability approach, our team will be putting together community fire safety and public education to extend the ability to keep the community safe from fire as much as possible. Recent federal studies have shown that residents of First Nation communities are ten times as likely to die in a house fire than those people living in the rest of Canada.*
The Firefighters Without Borders team is especially excited to have partnered with Lac Seul First Nation, a community located in northern Ontario, about 40 kilometres west of Sioux Lookout. Known as Obishikokaang in the Anishinaabe language, Lac Seul First Nation is a community made up of three distinct settlements: Kejick Bay, Whitefish Bay, and Frenchman’s Head. About 830 people live on the reserve. Through the generous donation from the St Catherine’s Fire Department, a 2003 Freightliner Fire truck will be the first Fire truck to the Lac Seul First Nation’s fire department. Additionally a donation to the community with outfitting the Fire truck with nozzles and hoses and 20 sets of fire fighter gear, including bunker gear, helmets and boots has been a welcomed addition to the Lac Seul community.
The World Health Organization has identified drowning as a major, yet largely preventable cause of death throughout the world. This problem is significant in St. Lucia, due to the relatively steep terrain, the volcanic rock which discourages water absorption and the heavy rains which can suddenly occur – particularly during the rainy season. The level of expertise within the St Lucia Fire Safety in this discipline was insufficient and they requested assistance from FWB in identifying equipment and training needs.
Firefighters Without Borders secured swift water rescue equipment arrived in St. Lucia in July of 2016 in readiness for the training. In December 2017, Firefighters Without Borders provided a successful 5 day thorough Swift Water Rescue training to members of the St Lucia Fire Safety department. Followed by an intensive continuation of the program and in addition a Vehicular Extraction training program was completed throughout the same time in April 2018.
The partnership between Firefighters without Borders and St. Lucia Fire Safety has a rich history of successful deployments and it is far from finished. Future 2019-2020 projects include Fire Suppression Techniques, Swift Water Rescue and Fire Dynamics.
In the Spring of 2019, FWB partnered up with C.E.S.O to help deliver training to UUBR, Bolivia Firefighters. This training included Structural firefighting operations, Vehicle rescue, High rise firefighting and SCBA Training. Firefighters Without Borders will continue to partner with C.E.S.O in Bolivia with trips planned in the fall of 2019 and 2020.
With 42 road deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants the Dominican Republic is the second deadliest nation anywhere for drivers. Providing fast, effective first response is critical to saving more lives. Firefighters Without Borders had the honour of working with Rescate Ambar, a 100% volunteer rescue organization, which provides the nearly 300,000 people community of Puerto Plata and its’ surrounding area with that critical first response. Rescate Amber currently receives little or no financial support from the government and as the only public based organization that services the city, the organization has its challenges. To help address these needs and better equip these local heroes, our team of emergency-service trained volunteers provided a 5 day comprehensive vehicle extrication and patient care training session, from November 4th to 8th, 2017. In addition the team donated helmets, medical masks, bolt cutters, cervical collars, and medical bags, amongst many more items valued at $15,000.
The job is far from over. The training and equipment that FWB provided gives Rescate Ambar several tools to address its many challenges, but more is needed. Our goal is to continue to equip these heroes with life-saving training and supplies, but we need your help. For how to help in our mission, click here to donate:
We wish to especially thank Mark Bone, our project partner. Mark, a Toronto Filmmaker approached us to be part of this project after witnessing the life-saving work Rescate Ambar does in the community. Mark’s short documentary, Rescate can be found here: https://www.rescatethefilm.com/