A highly-skilled Hampshire firefighter has travelled to Bangladesh to help prevent the scourge of fatal fires that is sweeping the refugee camp – which shelter almost a million people.
Fire Protection Officer Richard North flew out this week and will be returning on December 23.
Richard – who is known as Ollie – is a member of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team and International Search and Rescue (UK ISAR).
The former paramedic has already been ISAR mission helping in the aftermath of the New Zealand earthquake 2011 and the Indonesia earthquake 2009.
On this mission will be based at Cox’s Bazar and involved in creating policy, improving the infrastructure and making changes to enhance fire prevention, protection and response.
Richard said: “This job will be hugely challenging but I am excited at having such an opportunity to save lives and improve the quality of life for so many people.
“It is a testament to the training and development I have been given by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service that I am able to help in this way.”
Richard was one of three firefighters selected from across Europe. His colleagues came from Sweden and Italy.
The deployment was funded by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
His trip comes after his ISAR colleague Watch Manager Simon Forster from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service travelled to the area as part of the UK’s Emergency Medical Team (EMT).
The team were requested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Government of Bangladesh after an outbreak of Diphtheria.
Group Manager Jerry Leonard said: “The fact that two of our team have been handpicked to help with the Bangladesh refugee crisis is a reflection of the skills of the individuals and the training and excellence in the service.
“These two highly skilled individuals, picked from across the country, have a huge impact in disaster situations like this and their efforts save lives in the most challenging of situations.”