A South Shields firefighter is getting set to save lives abroad when he travels to Uganda to pass on fire safety advice.
Andy Brice, 38, who is based at South Shields fire station, will make the long journey to Uganda on October 14 in a bid to improve safety in schools.
The dad-of-two, from East Boldon, will spend two weeks volunteering in the Mityana region along with charity ‘Community Safety Uganda,’ which was set up by retired Tyne and Wear firefighter Ian Robertson.
The charity sends volunteers to deliver a comprehensive programme of fire safety training to school children and student teachers in the hope of improving the safety conditions of the environments where they live and work.
Andy, who has been a firefighter for 10 years, said: “I am excited an apprehensive at the same time.
“I saw Community Safety Uganda advertising for volunteers on our intranet and went along to a meeting about it.
“There I saw the photographs and heard the information and it just struck a chord with me and thought I should do it.
“I will be going along with Ian and another volunteer and we will be visiting as many schools as we can.
“In Uagnda the locations of the schools mean that a lot of the children have to board and the dorms are really basic.
“There are only meant to be bunk beds two high, but sometimes they are three high and because of the infrastructure in Uganda, the power goes off at night so people use candles or kerosene lamps.
“Because of Uganda’s past some of the schools also lock the dorms at night for the children’s safety.
“The fire loading, clothing and beds packed in really high, means that if someone knocks over a candle it is a really dangerous combination.
“So we are going out there to try and teach them how to make things like candles in tins, so that if they do get knocked down the fire won’t spread. “We will also teach them the stop, drop and roll.”
He added: “I just saw how little they have and how much they need the help and felt that I should give two weeks of my time to help those who need it.”