For the last two weeks in October, the Alberta Society for Firefighters Abroad (ASFA) trained emergency responders in Paraguay on a firetruck that was donated by Dow Canada.
“In June, we shipped the firetruck that was donated by Dow to Paraguay. We also shipped equipment, tools and a support vehicle that were donated by numerous other supporters including; Sylvan Lake Fire Department, Firemaster Oilfield Services, Clearwater Regional Fire Services and Lacombe County Fire Services” said Eric Nicholas, ASFA board director. “It was an incredible experience to see how appreciative the local departments were to receive the equipment and training. Helping to organize this training event was one of the highlights of my career and we were so thankful to work with a company like Dow who was willing to give a fire engine and to send one of their emergency responders to train people.”
This was the seventh substantial donation to fire departments in Paraguay from ASFA. This particular project was unique as the truck donation was supplemented by a sea container full of donated equipment and tools that travelled down to Paraguay. This was the third fire truck that Dow has donated, with the other two having been sent to Chile.
“I’m extremely proud to work for a company like Dow who supports a sustainable solution to extend the life of our surplus equipment,” said Trevor Griffith, Dow Fort Saskatchewan Emergency Services operations leader. “What I respect about my company is that we believe in going beyond donations. We believe in giving employees like me the time to engage for impact with the non-profits we support. Going to Paraguay with ASFA was a life-changing truly inspiring event and I will continue to give back and work with this organization that believes in building resiliency in the communities they support through emergency response training.”
The training for the emergency responders consisted of aerial operations, foam application, rural water evolutions and many other important skills throughout the busy trip. Training primarily took place in Encarnación, Paraguay a city of approximately 130,000, and the group also visited and trained in an additional five communities, delivering training to a total of twelve fire departments throughout the trip.
“The partnership with Dow started with Ed van Delden a Dow retiree and the retired Fire Chief in the City of Lacombe,” said Nicholas. “This partnership, along with a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Lacombe proved invaluable for the success of the trip. This mission was a true partnership between industry, municipal emergency responders and community groups that ASFA is looking forward to continuing to grow with future projects. To see more photos and video of the training event in Paraguay or to find out how to get involved with ASFA, check out Alberta Society for Firefighter Abroad – Project Paraguay on Facebook.”
-Submitted by Alberta Society for Firefighters Abroad