A FIREMAN from Wirral has returned from Uganda after joining a group of volunteers to spread the word about fire safety.
Phil Hunt, watch manager from West Kirby Fire station, was among the team of 12 who travelled to Mityana in Uganda with the Mityana Community Foundation Charity and worked out there for three weeks.
While there they taught fire safety in schools and also trained the local Mityana Police firefighting skills.
Between them they visited 170 schools in the Mityana district, teaching well over 35,000 children and teachers how to prevent fires, fire evacuation plans and life-saving techniques to extinguish small fires and treat burns.
Phil Hunt said: "It was a truly memorable experience and we all really felt that we made a difference.
"We even saw some children who had sadly already been affected by fire and had been left with scars from burn injuries.
"It was a life time's experience in just three weeks. The people of Mityana were incredibly warm and friendly towards us, everywhere we travelled by road or foot the children would shout with huge smiles on their faces ‘Mizungu’, which means ‘white person’ in Uganda.
"We knew our fire safety advice was getting out into the surrounding villages when we heard children shouting 'stop, drop and roll' which is what we teach the children to do if their clothes catch on fire.
"I would like to thank West Kirby Morrisons, Calday Grange Grammar School and the gentlemen from the JTL who assisted hugely in raising funds for the trip.
"During the trip we worked closely with the local hospitals advising of evacuation procedures and providing staff evacuation training.
"We also ensured at the many schools we visited that the children and staff we delivered our fire safety advice too then became our ambassadors to continue spreading the advice and safety messages to the surrounding villages of Mityana.
"The Mityana Foundation does some fantastic work. Since the Mityana Foundation was formed and through the continued efforts of the charity trustees and UK firefighters there has not been a single child fatality by fire in Mityana.
"A zero child fatality statistic we all hope will never change. We would like to thank everyone for their support and help towards our fundraising."
The other volunteers from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service included Prince's Trust Team programme Team Leader Lisa Smith, Community Protection District Manager Sarah Bell and Firefighter Claire Crilly.
It is thought to be the first time staff from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service have taken part in the project.
Each of them raised £1,500 to cover the cost of the trip through events including a cake sale. The money paid for such things as the resources to teach the pupils, Interpreters, visas, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and equipment for the Police.