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NKU Grad, Local Fire Chief Supports Firefighters in Poorest Parts of African Countries

Teaching basic fire safety in a school in Nairobi, Kenya, changed David Moore's life.

While there, the Northern Kentucky University alumnus and former Glendale, Ohio fire chief was particularly stricken by the city's woefully under-resourced firefighters.

“I learned from the fire chief that they were protecting a city of 5 million people with two working fire engines, one ladder truck and 156 firefighters,” said Moore. “The government doesn't provide services to the slums. They pretend they aren't even there.”

Moore left the city's poorly trained and ill-equipped fire district in 2012 determined to make a difference. After resigning as Glendale fire chief in 2013, he founded the Africa Fire Mission.

It was a big change for the 20-year veteran firefighter, who graduated from NKU’s Master of Public Administration program in 2006.

The nonprofit offers firefighter training, and firefighting equipment and resources to departments in Kenya and Ethiopia. Its aim is high: building and increasing the sustainable capacity of fire departments across Africa.

With the help of area volunteers, Africa Fire Mission donated nearly 200 sets of personal protective bunker gear to the Nairobi Fire Service last year. The organization also sent Nairobi two shipments of training material to help the department establish a fire training library and provided in-person training over several days in November.

“We have 15-20 departments donating training equipment,” Moore said. “We're slowly spreading out from the nucleus of the Greater Cincinnati area.”

Moore is working to collect new donations for more missions this year. Plans are to donate gear and provide training to two Zambian cities: Mfuwe and Livingstone. In addition, Africa Fire Mission is in early discussions with Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to help build a fire training academy there.

From Northern Kentucky University