8 firefighters from Kazakhstan visit Tempe

The Arizona Republic — June 13, 2008

Eight firefighters visiting from Kazakhstan this week had plenty in common with their Tempe counterparts.

They shared quirks, traditions and on-the-job situations, Kazakh firefighters said.

The visit was made possible by NATO's Partners for Peace program, which matches up foreign countries to build working relationships. Arizona's partner country is Kazakhstan.

"It's ( . . . ) people from opposite sides of the world sitting down and talking about the same issues," said Tempe Fire spokesman Mike Reichling, who organized the eight-day visit.

Those conversations did require interpreters. During a tour of the high-rise Centerpoint Condominiums in downtown Tempe Wednesday afternoon, the interpreters helped the Kazakh firefighters ask developers and Tempe fire officials about fire codes and procedures.

Though the Kazakh firefighters spent most of their visit learning about Tempe's firefighting techniques and touring local facilities, they found time to sightsee and exchange gifts. And on Wednesday morning, they even joined Tempe firefighters on the scene of a reported fire at Arizona State University's Student Services Building.

It was interesting to see how Tempe's Police and Fire departments worked together, said Ramil Kamalov, a chief specialist for Kazakhstan's firefighting and rescue service.

But for the eight visiting firefighters, the most shocking thing about Tempe wasn't related to their jobs.

"It's really hot weather," Kamalov said.

Kamalov and his fellow Kazakh firefighters are set to leave today. Another group of firefighters hoping to learn more about Tempe's water rescue tactics are expected to arrive today.

On July 27, seven firefighters — four from Tempe and one from Glendale, Camp Verde and state emergency management — will depart for Kazakhstan to participate in similar information-sharing activities, Reichling said.

Translators Needed

July 2 — The Tempe Fire Department is planning a trip to Kazakhstan (whose primary language is Russian), and is seeking a college student volunteer to translate during the event. Airfare, hotel, and food will be paid for by the department, but we cannot provide a salary. The trip is scheduled for August 2 — 16th, 2008.

During the trip, the volunteer will be travelling with Fire Department members to various regions of Kazakhstan, and will attend meetings and demonstrations to translate as needed. The purpose of the trip is to exchange fire and water rescue related information and plan for future exchanges in 2009. The volunteer will also attend social events and need to provide official interpretation of fire department related information in some cases.

 Potential volunteers will be interviewed by personnel going on the trip, in addition to a Russian-speaking representative to evaluate volunteers' level of fluency. I would appreciate if you could forward this to anyone that might be of help, and please feel free to write back with any questions

Megan Rokey, Tempe Fire Department, 480-858-7200.

NOTE: This volunteer opportunity was given to a Russian-speaking fireman from Tucson, but volunteer translators are needed in the future when more Kazakh guests arrive.

More Information

Partnership for Peace — WikiPedia

2008 Jun 23 — Kazakhstan fire officials visit Glendale training center
A delegation of eight representatives from the Kazakhstan fire service spent Tuesday morning touring Glendale's Regional Public Safety Training Center.

2008 June 18 — CVFD hosts Counterparts from Kazakhstan
Camp Verde Fire District (Arizona) hosted seven high-ranking fire chiefs for the Republic of Kazakhstan fire service Friday as part of an international information exchange program

2008 Apr 15 — Wing strengthens U.S. partnership with Central Asia 

2008 Apr 15 — Maintenance officer takes on embassy tour

2007 — Arizona and Kazakh military together for 14+ years 

1999 January 12 — The Republic of Kazakhstan, U.S. Central Command and the Arizona National Guard
will participate in an international computer workshop Jan. 16 -24 in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Arizona National Guard
The Arizona State Partnership Program, was implemented with Kazakhstan in 1995

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