Two fire service instructors from Northamptonshire have travelled to Paraguay to provide equipment and training to the national volunteer fire brigade.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service donated 28 obsolete positive pressure ventilation fans to the Volunteer Fire Corps of Paraguay during their visit to Northamptonshire earlier this year.
Instructors Dan Moore and Steve Bell then travelled to Paraguay last month to train the volunteers in using the equipment, which is used to reduce risk exposure and improve firefighter safety by removing hot fire gases, smoke and other airborne contaminants from a building on fire.
The national fire and rescue service in Paraguay is delivered on a voluntary basis and funded entirely by local donations. Volunteer firefighters, many of whom also have full-time jobs, are on standby from 60 stations across the country, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Around 200 of these volunteers travelled up to 500km to attend the training programme delivered by the Northamptonshire instructors, whose trip was paid for by the Volunteer Fire Corps of Paraguay.
Dan Moore, an instructor for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The visit was a huge success and for a fire service with so little, the Volunteer Fire Corps of Paraguay demonstrated levels of dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn that both Steve and I found incredibly humbling to witness.
“It was an extremely rewarding experience. We travelled there to train colleagues but we certainly left with new friends.”
The trip concluded with an official handover of the fans and a ceremony attended by the president of the Volunteer Fire Corps of Paraguay, a Paraguayan senator and the British Ambassador.
Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage, county council cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth, said: “This is the first time Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has supported a donation of equipment by also providing technical and operational training.
“The Volunteer Fire Corps of Paraguay has very little in terms of funding and equipment, and the volunteers selflessly give up their own time to provide a national fire and rescue service, so I’m delighted that Northamptonshire was able to offer this support.”