Firefighters for Christ at the “Top of the World”

July 31, 2018

Namaste’ from Nepal. Although my pen has been silent lately, Firefighters for Christ has been very active. This past year alone, we’ve sent training teams to Mexico, Ecuador, the Philippines, and most recently Kathmandu, Nepal.

This eleven-member Nepal Team consisted of firefighters from the LAFD, LA County, Rancho Cucamonga, Anaheim, Santa Clara and Hemet. We supplied and donated equipment, then taught classes on Firefighter Rescue, Auto Extrication, Swift Water Rescue, and Wildland Operations. Our class of 100 included police officers, firefighters, and civilians (similar to CERT personnel). This outreach was done at the request and coordination of the mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City and held in the National Armed Police Force Academy in Kathmandu.

Nepal is a very interesting country. Language interpretation is done by thoughts and ideas rather than individual words and phrases. Nothing spoken or written is recognizable to us english speakers. It’s a culture so foreign in the minds of western ideology. For instance, what we would consider feral cows, the Nepalese consider sacred. They wander about freely and are given the highest right-of-way in traffic. The cultural gap in Nepal is wide yet our interaction with firefighters (and first responders) throughout the world is always the same. We have the same heart and desire in wanting to help others, and friendships with our Nepalese students overcame any cultural differences.

We often take for granted the training and equipment available to us in the United States. Developing countries have so little and it seems that emergency services are very low on their priority list. Although technology continues to advance, emergency services lag behind. As an example, every nation may have automobiles, but developing nations have no means of handling victim extrication in the event of a serious traffic accident. This is why auto extrication is part of our training curriculum. The fire service in Nepal also seems to be restricted to fire suppression only, leaving any technical rescue work to law enforcement. That is why most of our students were police officers and civilian personnel.

Firefighters for Christ is an international ministry within the fire service. It began in Los Angeles in 1976 and today has chapters across the nation and in several countries overseas. It’s founder and President, John White, served 45 years on the LAFD and retired a Captain II.

Upcoming FFC trips are scheduled for Uganda, the Philippines, Mexico, and Peru. If you are interested in coming along, contact us at: www.firefightersforchrist.org, or on our FaceBook Group, Firefighters for Christ International.

By Dan Rodriquez

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