Columbian firefighters are to have safer working conditions thanks to the dedication of two colleagues from Exmouth.

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Firefighters from Exmouth have been instrumental in protecting their colleagues in Columbia with donations of protective clothing.

A group of volunteers headed by crew commander Paul Furler from Exmouth fire station and retired firefighter Peter Sandel, also from Exmouth, have been tirelessly fundraising to ship and distribute the equipment to firefighters at Bogotá Fire Service.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has backed the aid project for the last 15 years and will this month will send 650 used firefighting suits to show its ongoing commitment to the cause.

A fire brigade spokeperson said: “The current aid project endorsed and supported by Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell came about when firefighting suits were due for replacement.

“Although no longer up to the punishing standards required by the services firefighters they still had a value, especially in the rural communities of Colombia where often the volunteer firefighters do not even have the luxury of personal protective equipment.”

Peter Sandel said: ““On arrival in early August the suits will be distributed to 107 community rural fire stations and offer protection so that the dedicated volunteer firefighters will be able to offer a better service to their communities.

“With over 40 per cent of rural Colombian villages still having no proper fire and rescue service this is a great step forward in developing a better service to those less advantaged as we are in Devon and Somerset.”

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