Gary Higson – Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (retired)


Mark Styzaker – Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Simon Picton – Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.

In November 2013, following donation of equipment, three members of Operation Florian travelled to Chile to complete training and familiarisation. The main purpose of the visit was to ensure that the firefighters receiving the equipment were competent to use and maintain it, and also be capable of cascading the training to others after the team departed. An assessment was also undertaken to determine how the charity can continue to support firefighters in Chile; it should be remembered that Chile is one of the few countries in the world where all firefighters are volunteers.

A 20ft container of equipment was shipped to Iquique and the contents were distributed throughout the region and beyond.  The intention was to share the equipment between the cities and regions of Iquique and Valparaiso.  In addition to the shipped equipment Gary took with him two automatic defibrillators and a training defibrillator.  These items were donated to 11th Company Valparaiso and training given to 4 firefighters on the use of the defibrillators and the training defibrillator.  Simon Picton took a surprisingly large amount of BA servicing tools and manuals etc, in his luggage allowance.  Simon ran a BA servicing and maintenance course to a small group of firefighters in both Valparaiso and in Iquique.

Training in Valparaiso

Training in Breathing Apparatus procedures and fire science was given on the fire station in the evenings with ad hoc training during the day.  Many firefighters from other stations were able to attend although numbers were depleted at times due to operational requirements.  Practical BA sessions were held in Laguna Verde and some firefighters from 12th Company, Santiago participated.

Training in Iquique

Breathing Apparatus maintenance training was given during the daytime and in the evenings with dedicated students. Training in Breathing Apparatus procedures was given on the fire station in the evening with ad hoc training during the day, additional sessions were held during the daytime and at weekends as firefighters had travelled from outlying regions of Chile (some for 12 hours and more by road!).  Other stations were invited to attend and many firefighters did so, again numbers were depleted at times due to operational requirements.  Practical Breathing Apparatus sessions were held utilising an American designed ‘fire container’; firefighters from other companies also participated.

The final evening session was a presentation and discussion on ‘incident management’.  Representatives of all fire stations (companies) of Iquique attended this event together with senior officers from Iquique fire service headquarters.

The visit was a two-way learning event with the Operation Florian members learning much from our Chilean counterparts culturally, academically, and practically. Unfortunately, we were not able to achieve any improvement in the skills of the Valparaiso football team, playing in the England kit, the final score was a respectable Valparaiso 1-2 Santiago with Mark Styzaker setting up the Valparaiso goal.

Operation Florian are extremely grateful to all supporters of this project. Without your assistance these projects would not be possible. You have helped to save lives and improve community safety:-

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service

Anglo Chilean Society, London

Marcelo Zuñiga Schampke, Iquique and the firefighters of 11th Company Iquique

Alejandro Coronel Barredo, Valparaiso and the firefighters of 11th Company Valparaiso

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