St. Florian Fire and Burn Foundation’s involvement in International Outreach began in 2012. For the first time, a firefighter team accompanied a burn care team to Zambia, Africa to provide education to students, hospital staff, and the public on burn care, prevention, fire safety, and safety in general. The firefighter team provided this same training and firefighter training to the Katete Fire Brigade. This message directly reached over 2700 people. This first firefighter team trip was a result of a request received from the Katete Fire Brigade to the 2011 medical team led by Dr. Barbara Latenser.
As two members of the 2012 fire fighter team were members of the St. Florian Board of Directors, at the request of the firefighter representation that went on the 2012 mission trip and Dr. Latenser, St. Florian was an obvious choice when it became apparent that a non-profit organization was needed in this international effort to be the organizational body for this education and prevention initiative.
In 2013, the St. Florian Board of Directors formed an International Outreach Committee to drive the primary goals of the program to decrease the incidence of burns and to improve safety in low- and middle-income countries. Additional teams for future trips will be selected by St. Florian International Outreach Committee.
If you are interested in finding more about the St. Francis Mission Hospital, visit the St. Francis Mission Hospital website.
St. Florian and Idianola Firefighters Donate Truck to Katete
You never know what someone is going through until you take a walk in their shoes or in this case, their fire boots.
Firefighters with the Indianola Fire Department have it pretty good.
“The fire service is usually a fairly respected group of people in their community and their treated very well,” says Fire Chief Brian Seymour.
It means something to be a firefighter. It’s an identity. Except for those who are seven times zones away.
“When the truck showed up, the community there was infuriated with them and threw rocks at them.”
More than 8,000 miles to the east of the US in Zambia is the village of Katete, where fire is a part of everyday life and firefighters lack credibility. No uniforms, little training, and a broken-down fire truck stationed fifty miles away is all they had.
“They didn`t have anything that identified them as firefighters. They were just people showing up on a truck to do what they could.”
Chief Seymour and his men first visited Katate two years ago by way of a grant from the Children’s Burn Foundation. Together with an Dr Latenser, the group met burn victims at a local hospital. The medical team taught a medical team in Lusaka about treating burns. That was the push over the next 12 days – teaching, training and outfitting a volunteer fire department. The only thing still lacking were the tools to do the job.
“To be quite honest, it took them 10 minutes or so to just get the equipment running and to be able to respond to the fire.”
What they needed was a new truck. A couple phones calls here and there to the right people within a week they landed on a 1945 fire truck.
An oil company near the North Pole donated the truck and shipped it to Minneapolis. The firefighters then drove it to Indianola for a makeover. In April the truck was towed to Jacksonville, Florida for a boat ride to a West African seaport, in May the Indianola Fire Department returned to Africa to finish the last leg.
The $15,000 trip was funded entirely with donations.