RESTOR and the Kelowna Fire Department members are heading to Africa in November to teach fire prevention methods. - Carli Berry/Capital News

Kelowna nonprofit and fire department to teach fire prevention methods in Africa

RESTOR and the Kelowna Fire Department will spend two weeks in Ethiopia

Stop, drop and roll, a simple lesson to prevent burns in Canada is being shared overseas.

The Kelowna Fire Department and nonprofit RESTOR members are travelling to Africa this November in order to teach fire prevention.

In developing countries such as Ethiopia, open fires are a part of daily life. Burns are a global public health problem accounting for an estimated 265,000 deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization, and are a leading cause of disability and disfigurement, according to RESTOR.

Fourteen members will be visiting local fire departments in Ethiopia and will leave posters for the departments, going over the stop drop and burn method and showing ways to cool a burn to prevent further injury, said Gayanne Pacholzuk, Kelowna fire prevention officer.

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“It goes hand and hand with the RESTOR medical team,” she said.

This will be the third trip RESTOR will make to Ethiopia, but the first time they will be teaching fire prevention tactics. RESTOR started with a burn care program.

Kim East, RESTOR Surgical Care Coordinator, said the number of preventable burns occurs in the thousands in the country.

The group will be speaking to roughly 200 people, she estimated.

In developing countries, the impacts of disfigurements often result in social stigma and restriction in participation in society. Wound contractures and other physical impairments limit functional abilities and thus the chance of leading normal, economically productive lives.

RELATED: Kelowna hosts firefighters training program

RESTOR international’s team of volunteer Rotarians and volunteer doctors and nurses work to address this global need. The organization is preparing to send their third medical surgical team to Ethiopia Nov. 11 to provide essential, no-charge surgeries to children and young adults suffering from disabling and disfiguring contractures as a result of burns. The group will be teaching fire prevention for two weeks.

The team made the announcement Thursday at Kelowna’s fire hall on Enterprise Way, as part of National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7 to 13.

RESTOR International’s medical mission has been made possible by private donors, rotary clubs across B.C., as well as by the Rotary Club of Kelowna’s sponsorship for an accepted Rotary International Foundation grant.


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