A ‘proud’ Lincolnshire Firefighter who was deployed to Bangladesh in a humanitarian request has described his experience as humbling.
Station Manager Dave Phillips has spent the last 19 years working for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.
Mr Phillips is currently on a government funded secondment to the UK-ISAR’s International Search and Rescue Team to assist with training and development of the UK’s Emergency Medical Team (EMT), along with training firefighters who are deployed to disaster situations.
This is not the first deployment for Mr Phillips, as he has been involved in search and rescue missions around the UK and abroad for more than 15 years.
He was deployed with international rescue efforts following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, flooding in the Balkans in 2015, and supporting on the Nepal and Japanese disasters.
The 51-year-old was recently in Bangladesh where a new medical centre has been constructed by in-country organisations.
It has been made operational to make sure thousands of people have access to the life-saving diphtheria vaccinations.
The medical centre is sited in an area of Bangladesh which has seen the arrival of more than half a million people who have fled their homes in neighbouring Myanmar because of civil unrest.
Mr Phillips said he feels proud to be able to play a small part in helping such a large group of people.
He said: “Anyone who is involved within the fire service, firefighters on the pump to fire safety are all, first and foremost, humanitarians.
“We are all in this type of role because we want to make a difference.
“When you look at something that is happening somewhere else in the world, from a sudden onset disaster, we as a service or as an individual can make people’s lives better, you feel very proud to wear the uniform and make that difference.
“It is strange to think that a few weeks ago we were enjoying Christmas at home, but just two days earlier I was in a Bangladesh refugee camp watching children playing in the streets under very difficult conditions.”
ISAR is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
There are 15 services throughout the UK which support the International Search and Rescue Team, including Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.
Coun Nick Worth, executive member for Fire and Rescue at Lincolnshire County Council, added: “We’re very proud of the achievements of our Urban Search and Rescue team and the contribution they make not only in our county, but nationally and internationally.
“Working alongside other services keeps their expertise at a high level as well as helping in places in the world that are seeing real suffering.”
• A UK team is still in attendance in Bangladesh, including Medical Staff from UK Med 34, supported by five UK-ISAR Fire and rescue logistical staff and a team leader from Department for international development (Dfid).