Bond of firefighters offers hope.(European Focus)

The Fire Rescue Development Programme is a non profit, international non governmental organisation comprised of firefighters from nine countries on four continents. It was created to assist firefighters in the developing world and in war torn countries by providing training, equipment and organisational assistance to restore a sense of dignity and pride. The FRDP is also the only fire rescue NGO recognised by the UN and is very involved in disaster impact reduction

ALMOST EVERY FIREFIGHTER WHO travels, whether in his own country or abroad, often visits a fire department and is usually met with a genuine welcome by the firefighters being visited. There is as much interest shown by the visiting firefighters as their hosts to hear how each others' department operates, the equipment and techniques utilised for certain jobs, as well as to discuss what problems and politics plague the rank and file.

This common interest in each others' operation may be because the work we do and the inherent risks faced are basically the same, independent of the city, country or continent we may find ourselves. We fight fires in residential, commercial and industrial occupancies; we perform rescues from complex vehicle accidents to people stuck in elevators; we handle hazardous materials incidents and mitigate large scale disasters such as floods and earthquakes. Another common denominator among firefighters everywhere is that we love the work we do.

This may also be part of what identifies us as a most unique group worldwide. This may be why the public knows that the Fire Service is the only entity it can count on in an emergency--even when conditions have forced all other government instituitons to run for cover and even when the state and government no longer exist. …

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