Firefighters to train others in Panama

Sooke firefighters volunteering to teach skills, fundraising to get there

  • Nov. 7, 2012 2:00 p.m.

The Sooke Firefighter’s Association is currently fundraising to send local firefighters to Boquete, Panama to provide training in March 2013.

According to Ben Temple, Sooke volunteer firefighter, the association hopes to send four or six firefighters from the region to train firefighters in Boquete, Panama.

“I think it’s going to be wonderful. It’s going to be a great opportunity not only for us to do some training, but for us to see how departments in other countries function and operate, and the challenges that they are faced with,” he said.

Although still to be determined, Temple said training will focus on team management and victim extraction for motor vehicle incidents, and wildland interface fires — fires that encroach on the town site and surrounding coffee plantations.

“The ability to teach them how to deal with wildland interface fires will be key,” he said.

It will cost $1,500 to $2,000 to send one firefighter to Boquete, and the association has raised about $2,400.

The firefighters currently have the following fundraising initiatives on-the-go:

From Nov. 7-27, Western Foods will be donating a portion of sales from specific items to the firefighters’ Boquete fund.     A similar fundraising initiative with Village Food Markets is being planned for the New Year.

The launch of a crowd funding website, Indiegogo, to solicit online donations. Check out the website here: www.indiegogo.com/fraternidad-de-bomberos.

Each donor will be recognized for their contribution.

“We’re offering things like signed photographs of the group that goes down and the group that is in Boquete, and t-shirts. And recognition of our contributors on the t-shirts that we wear down there,” Temple said.

There is also the possibility of a social event with food, drink and entertainment at the firefighter’s lounge.

Throughout the summer, firefighters held car washes and hosted movie nights to fundraise, and Temple said community reaction for the project was positive.

“When people learned about what we’re doing, they were super impressed, and real enthusiastic about it and happy to help.”

The international training project will be a first for the Sooke Firefighter’s Association, and it is one they hope to continue into the future.

“We hope it’s going to be an ongoing thing. Every couple of years we’ll send a group from the Sooke Firefighter’s Association down to the same department to continue the training and in between trips we’ll maintain contact,” Temple said.

“Almost sort of like an unofficial sister department, if you will.”

Check out the project on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/FraternidaddeBomberos

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