After graduating from Northern Kentucky University
in 2006, Dave Moore became fire chief of Glendale
; but his life changed after visiting Nairobi, Kenya, on a mission trip in 2012.
“They run schools in the slums of Nairobi, and they had asked me to come and help with issues of fire safety because they had had some fires and welcome any sort of fire prevention there,” Moore says.
With three fire engines and 156 firefighters for a city of roughly 5 million people, Nairobi’s fire stations are underequipped and understaffed.
“We did basic training with the school staff—how to conduct a fire drill,” Moore says. “We taught some of the basics. They had never heard of stop drop and roll—that was a new concept for them.”
Moore says one thing the school asked was that he try to build a connection with the Nairobi fire department prior to returning to the United States, so he met the chief and was able to get some of the firefighters to also join in on the training sessions at the school.
“Then, as we were getting ready to head home, the fire chief asked if there was a way we could help the fire department in addition to the schools. I was expecting them to say, ‘We need money, fire trucks—big things,” Moore says. “But what won me over was when he said, ‘We need knowledge.'”
That comment stuck with Moore, and when he returned to Cincinnati, he left his job as fire chief and founded Africa Fire Mission
—a local nonprofit dedicated to “building and increasing the sustainable capacity of fire departments across Africa.”
Since that time, Moore has organized an effort to ship 200 sets of bunker gear and training materials to Nairobi; and this past November, he returned to the city with two other Cincinnati firefighters to provide a week of training to about 75 of Nairobi’s firefighters.
“One of the other benefits we could never have realized through the donations was bringing fire service to the forefront of the attention of the governor there,” Moore says. “He found out the fire department had been trying to buy fire trucks for years, and on the day of our donation, he signed a contract to buy nearly 30 fire trucks for Nairobi, which will be delivered by the end of 2014.”
Nairobi’s fire service is improving, but Moore says he’s not going to leave them behind.
“We’re working to create sustainable fire departments,” Moore says. “Not one-time gifts where the support then goes away.”
• Support Africa Fire Mission by making a donation
. The next set of donations and training materials will be sent to two cities in Zambia, and the cost to ship one container is $10,000 dollars.
• Contact Dave
if you'd like to volunteer with Africa Fire Mission in any capacity, or if you would be willing to allow Africa Fire Mission to speak about the organization at your community group, church, etc.
• Support the organization by purchasing a Nairobi Fire Service t-shirt
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.