A historic event in Kenya! Professional certification of firefighters has begun
Examinations recognizing the professional qualification of firefighters are starting in Kenya. This is the culmination of 9 years and systemic work by the PCPM to expand the firefighting system in Kenya. The profession of firefighting in the country has become an official profession, and this will significantly increase safety. “We have waited a long time for such an opportunity. Thanks to certification, we have a chance for promotion, better pay, and working conditions. This is an important issue for us,” the firefighters say.
At the Fire and Rescue Training Center in Kenya, as part of a project funded by Polish aid, the PCPM today began the first national exams under the Accelerated Recognition of Professional Qualifications system for firefighters in Kenya. The exams are conducted by Polish expert staff accredited as instructors in Kenya, most notably the chief examiner, Rafal Wlasinowicz.
The first group of firefighters is in the midst of an oral exam, and the first practical exams will soon begin. Over the next two weeks, the group of 70 will be evaluated on skills in road rescue, firefighting, and fire protection, among others.
“This is a huge opportunity for us”
Asked about the role of the first official professional certification, the firefighters respond in unison: “We have waited a long time for such an opportunity. Thanks to certification, we have a chance for promotion, better pay, and working conditions. This is an important issue for us. We will do everything we can to pass these exams.”
PCPM is pursuing the national exams with the country’s top institutions National Polytechnic in Nyeri, TVET, Kenya School of TVET and the Chief Fire Officers Association of Kenya (CFOA-K).
Intensive training in Kenya
December has been unusually intense for the Kenya project. The previous week, search, and rescue training sessions were held at the Kiambu Fire and Rescue Training Center.
These prepared the firefighters for the state exams, which began this week. Together with our partners, the Chief Fire Officers Association of Kenya (CFOA-K) and the National Polytechnic in Nyeri, we have established a comprehensive system for the recognition of professional qualifications culminating in national certification.
Thanks to this system, firefighters with years of experience can now apply for official professional licenses. This will not only improve their chances in the job market but also have a positive impact on their working and living conditions.
We have prepared profiles of firefighters and female firefighters with full professional documentation. We have also conducted individual professional consultations and follow-up training for about 80 people.
The second firefighting unit opened!
The Polish Center for International Aid Foundation has been supporting the Kenyan fire department since 2014. During this time, the number of firefighting units across the country has increased from 26 to 71, and the number of firefighters from 450 to more than 1,600.
One of the main results of the PCPM’s work in Kenya is the establishment of a training center for firefighters in the town of Kiambu in the central part of the country. At the Fire and Rescue Training Center, Polish specialists teach Kenyan firefighters and rescuers how to use rope techniques, rescue vehicle accident victims, and use specialized rescue equipment, among other things.
In addition, during its nine years of activity in Kenya, PCPM has created a fire station from scratch in Maukeni County in southern Kenya, and has supported dozens of other units through personnel training and the supply of firefighting equipment and supplies.
In the presence of the Polish Ambassador to Kenya, the PCPM Foundation opened a second firefighting unit in Chumvi, Kenya. This is the second such rescue and firefighting facility built by PCPM. It is located on the busy road from Mombasa to Nairobi. This unit will significantly affect the safety of thousands of Kenyans.