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German team trains Samoa fire department

By Ali Rae APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, July 11, 2010) - German efforts to help support Samoa’s Fire and Rescue service were officially recognized with the official handing over of the new Blue Angel Rescue Tender.

In the presence of the Prime Minister, the keys to the vehicle were passed to the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue Services on behalf of the German Technical Relief. Honorary Console of the Federal Republic of Germany for Samoa, Arne Schreiber told those present that the initial idea was sparked by German Lothar Fuerst while on holiday in 2008.

"[Mr. Fuerst] mentioned to me [in 2008] that there may be a possibility to get for Samoa a very useful vehicle from Germany," Mr. Schreiber said. "After passing quite a lot of hurdles, the donation papers were signed in December 2009, and Samoa became the owner of the vehicle."

However, many challenges – such as shipping costs - were soon faced in order to get the Blue Angel to Samoa in June this year.

"With a lot of effort we finally got the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) as a sponsor of the freight cost," Schreiber said.

Furthermore, additional support was given to the Samoa in the form of technical on-site training in Apia.

"A team of four Germans came to Samoa at their own expense to train the colleges of the Fire and Emergency Authority on the equipment that the Rescue Tender is fully loaded with," Schreiber said.

To conclude the official presentation ceremony, the audience witnessed an exercise drill performed by the Fire and Rescue team.

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