Volunteer firefighters Marco Yangali and Estafania Galarza Morlales from Peru get a look from atop the ladder truck with Langford Fire Rescue volunteer Trevor Newnham.

Langford hosts Peru firefighters for extra training

Firefighters Without Borders program brings South American comrades to town

It’s been quite a fire drill for a couple of volunteer firefighters from Peru.

Marco Yangali and Estafania Galarza Morales are conducting a whirlwind tour of fire departments on the Island and Lower Mainland to soak up as much training as possible as part of a Firefighters Without Borders Canada initiative.

Yangali, 23, and Galarza Morales, 21, were invited to B.C. by a Firefighters Without Borders Canada contingent that included Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop and Lt. Dylan Walsh, who travelled to Peru in April.

Yangali, chief of fire investigation and prevention for Callao hall No. 15, near Lima, and Galarza Morales, assistant chief for hall No. 23 in Garibaldi, are spending July 20 to Aug. 10 training at departments in Metchosin, Langford, Oak Bay, Sidney, Otter Point  and Saltspring Island.

The two visitors, who have an excellent command of English, have already stayed with departments in Langley, Burnaby, Richmond and Port Moody.

They both have worked as translators for Firefighters Without Borders for the past three years, and jumped at the opportunity to come to Canada for the first time.

“It’s a beautiful country and everyone is very friendly and helpful,” Yangali said during a busy day at the Langford main hall that included time on a ladder truck and the department’s fireboat, as well as time with dispatch and B.C. Ambulance.

“The work here is more technical and they have different standards and procedures that have given us some good ideas that may work well back home.”

All of the firefighters working in Lima and the surrounding area, with a population of 13 million, are volunteers.

Galarza Morales identified improving public education as one of the goals of the trip. “I think we have accomplished that,” she said. All of the halls we visited have provided valuable information to take back home.”

Langford Fire Rescue assistant chief Chris Aubrey said the exchange of ideas has been valuable for all involved. “Both of their halls may do 1,200 calls a month, compared to 1,600 in a year for us here,” Aubrey noted.

“They are well experienced with different calls in a more urban setting, which has provided insight for us.”

Aubrey said that whether firefighters are from Peru, Afghanistan or the U.S., a bond exists based on the experiences firefighters share.

“The language may be different, but the bond transcends territorial boundaries,” he added.

Yangali and Galarza Morlaes said they are overwhelmed by the support, kindness and help they have received during the trip.


Just Posted

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Good things come in small, strong, fast packages

Sierra Gillis hopes to represent Canada one day in fastball or rugby

New UVic study to track decline of insects in Metchosin

Traps will be set to catch and weigh flying insects

Edibles sidelined in proposed amendments to Cannabis Act

Health Canada says edible regulation is still more than a year away

Paralympic dream for rider with cerebral palsy

Kim Scott’s goal is to represent Canada and won’t let anything, including cerebral palsy, get in her way

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Lower water pressure, discolouration expected Friday in Gorge-Tillicum area

McKenzie interchange work could affect water for up to a week

Mainroad crews cleaning up after winter

Motorists warned to be on the lookout for roadside workers

The most “Victoria” way to watch baseball?

HarbourCats fans can now watch games from double-decker buses

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

BREAKING: Cassie Sharpe adds world championship to Olympic gold

Mount Washington skier defends her crown in France, wins overall halfpipe title

Most Read