Fire fighter heading to Pakistan to save lives

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue worker Mohammed Ali who will travel to Pakistan to share his expertise
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue worker Mohammed Ali who will travel to Pakistan to share his expertise

A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) employee will be heading to Pakistan to help save lives by lending his expertise to the improvement of emergency services.

The Kirklees district prevention manager, Mohammed Ali, and Calderdale St John’s Ambulance volunteer will travel with three other firefighters from Greater Manchester and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services this April.

They will assess the needs of the Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122), the largest emergency humanitarian service of Pakistan covering all 36 districts of Punjab.

Mr Ali, who works at Huddersfield Fire Station, said: “We want to share our knowledge and experience with the aim of up-skilling firefighters so they can deal more effectively with the challenging range of incidents they face.

“The aim is to bring them up to international standards – and if we save one life in doing so it will be worth it.”

The four key areas that will be looked at are: Fire Prevention and Protection; Disaster Management; Fire Investigation; Up-skilling Firefighters.

The one week trip will be an initial scoping exercise with the intention of a second visit later this year to put in place training and supply any equipment needed if possible.

The team has been formed by the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) which is a national organisation representing the voice for change for Asian workers within fire and rescue communities.

Mr Ali has a degree in Biomedical Science.

He is project manager for the team and also has personal links to Pakistan as friends and family live there.

The 40-year-old dad of one, from Bradford, said: “I was there two years ago and went and dropped into Rawalpindi station within the capital of Islamabad. I had a chat with them to see what they are up to and how they are dealing with incidents and it got me thinking.

“The Punjab and Sindh provinces were affected by terrible flooding last year and whilst the Fire and Rescue Services across the UK have recently proved their capacity to deal with that, in Pakistan it’s a totally different challenge - not only are firefighters battling against the elements, they are also battling against the heat.

“Pakistan has also been hit by some devastating earthquakes in recent years so disaster management is one of the key areas we will be looking at.”

He joined WYFRS in 2003, having previously trained as a paramedic for the Ambulance Service.

He added: “The West Yorkshire community has quite a large population from Kashmir and Pakistan and we hope this mission will also build links with these communities on home soil. We really need support to make this venture a success and would appeal to all communities to help us do that.”

Deputy chief fire officer for WYFRS Steve Beckley said: “Fire and rescue service staff from the UK have a long tradition of supporting colleagues across the world and it is particularly pleasing to see one of our employees using the skills he has gained here in West Yorkshire to benefit communities in Pakistan, a country with very strong links here in West Yorkshire.”

Mr Ali is hosting a fundraising dinner for the Punjab Rescue project at Aagrah Midpoint Restaurant, Thornbury, Bradford on Friday, March 14, at 6pm. Entertainment will be provided by Hussain Lahori. Tickets, costing £20, can be bought from Mr Ali on 07890543350.