Firefighters fly out to Columbia

PUBLISHED: 15:03 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:46 10 June 2010

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9: THREE Exmouth firefighters have headed off to South America to train their Columbian colleagues in firefighting techniques. Watch manager Nigel Snowshall, crew manager Paul Furler and consultant fire investigator Pete Sandel are spending a month in Maniza

THREE Exmouth firefighters have headed off to South America to train their Columbian colleagues in firefighting techniques.Watch manager Nigel Snowshall, crew manager Paul Furler and consultant fire investigator Pete Sandel are spending a month in Manizales passing on their firefighting skills and expertise to Columbian firefighters.The trip, funded by the Columbian government, is part of an ongoing project that has been in operation for 10 years.Two years ago, two Columbian firefighters made the journey to Devon and spent time with the Fire and Rescue Service learning about breathing apparatus procedures.This time the Exmouth firefighters, who have 83 years combined firefighting experience, are getting stuck in, constructing large metal containers.The shipping containers are similar to those used for breathing apparatus training at Exeter Airport by Devon and Somerset firefighters - which allow fire crews to tackle real blazes in controlled conditions.The aim is for the Columbian fire crews to have a purpose-built training centre where they can put their newly-learned skills into practice in a 'real fire' situation, instead of relying on classroom-taught techniques.Exmouth crew manager Paul Furler said: "They are going to build a fire training unit and we are going over to help them set it up and give our advice."Once it is set up, firefighters from all over the country can train there."During their time in South America, the Exmouth trio will be touring a number of fire stations where they have been 'humbled' by the kit and equipment the Columbian fire crews have to work with.Speaking from Manizales, Pete Sandel said: "If only our colleagues in London Fire Brigade could see their old tunics and helmets being put to good use. It makes you feel humble that these people have very little and give a lot."In a town called Riosucio the station has two pumping appliances - one 1952 vintage and the other from the 1970s. Read more about the trip at www.manizales-fire.blogspot.com

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