Supporting the Beirut Fire Brigade
Burn injury treatment kits equip first responders in Lebanon
During the last two years, Lebanon has witnessed many tragedies leading to fires that affected people, the environment, and infrastructure. The 2020 Beirut port explosion in August 2020 left thousands of victims and burned buildings. The fuel tank explosion in August 2021 in Tleis, North Lebanon, resulted in scores of residents being burned and wounded. And there have been many wildfires across the country that have left people injured and homeless.
These events, and the terrible burns they inflicted, galvanized Anera and our partners to respond by making easy-to-use first aid kits widely available to first responders.
To aid this initiative, global humanitarian charity Direct Relief donated a shipment of kits customized for wildfire response and burn injuries. The kits contained items such as bandages, scissors, burn ointment, antibiotics, adrenaline, analgesics, face masks, gloves, goggles, wound disinfectant, and nebulizers. Anera distributed the donated kits among several local frontline responders, including the Beirut Fire Brigade.
“We get 15 to 20 burn cases daily,” says Mashhoor Obeid, a paramedic with the fire brigade. “That’s actually less than it used to be, since many can’t afford professional care because of the financial crisis. We try to offer the best services we can. Our humanitarian work includes pro bono treatments and rescue services.”
The Beirut Fire Brigade is a first responder institution in every sense of the term. Like medical staff, the fire brigade goes into high-risk zones every day. They are on the frontlines protecting and serving the public. They were the first on the scene in the wake of the Beirut explosion and sadly suffered losses as a result.
“This year has been tough, to say the least,” says Ali Najm, first lieutenant and head of public relations. “We lost 10 firefighters in the Beirut blast and we can never bring them back, unlike the destroyed buildings and supplies which we can restock and rebuild. This has been a huge loss for all of us at the fire brigade.”
"We lost 10 firefighters in the Beirut blast... This has been a huge loss for all of us at the fire brigade.”
“Anera has helped with medical equipment and aid. But they also support us on a personal level by helping the firefighters and their families during this tough period in Lebanon’s history,” says Ali, in response to Anera providing fire-fighting families with food baskets.
“My daily responsibilities include responding to any fire or explosion in the Beirut metro area. Our ambulances drive with the fire fighting trucks, so we can simultaneously attend to both fires and injuries. We’ve been suffering from a lack of finances for years, and we have a huge need for new equipment and supplies,” says Obeid.
Getting the new kits from Direct Relief helps vitally important, but cash-strapped responders like the Beirut Fire Brigade to save lives.
“On behalf of all paramedics, firefighters, the commander, myself, and all the staff here [at the Beirut Fire Brigade]” says Obeid, “I would like to thank Anera and Direct Relief for everything. You’ve really hit the spot in helping us continue our mission and better serve burn victims.”