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Last updated: 03/12/2018, 3:34 PM

Firefighter goes to South Sudan to improve fire safety in refugee camps

03/12/2018 15:34
London-wide
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A firefighter from Hornsey Fire Station volunteered to spend two weeks providing fire safety advice in South Sudan.

Watch Manager Kathryn Duncan joined a team of six volunteers from the UK who worked for the United Nation's International Organisation for Migration to run 'train the trainer' courses for UN camp staff.

The team, which was in Sudan in late November, worked with the site staff to set up and train community safety groups in each camp. They will, in turn, provide fire safety advice and first aid to thousands of camp occupants.

Kathryn's team also carried out a fire safety assessment of a large displaced persons camp that has 120,000 occupants living in makeshift accommodation within a very small area. The camp also contains schools, hospitals and markets, which all create a substantial fire risk.

Risk of fire

Kathryn said: "I believe we can make a real difference to the number of fire injuries and deaths within the camps. The training we are delivering in fire prevention and firefighting will significantly improve the response they currently provide."

Kathryn’s trip was supported by charity Fire Aid, which provides donations of fire and rescue equipment, training and expertise to over 40 countries. Kathryn was approached to be a trainer by Women in the Fire Service, a charity that promotes a culture of equality of opportunity and supports all women in achieving their full potential within fire and rescue services.

Fire Aid were approached by the International Organisation for Migration in 2017 with a request for fire safety assessments of refugee camps in South Sudan. Two representatives of Fire Aid visited South Sudan in March this year and carried out a site visit of a large camp. The charity found there was a risk of fire due to the construction and layout of the camps. The charity also found there were no community fire safety awareness activities and a limited organised fire response.