The following testimonials have been provided by fire service professionals from across the country who have deployed to developing nations such as Paraguay, El Salvador, Panama, Columbia, and Peru. By sharing their experiences, we hope to provide a sense of how much impact the deployment has not only for those who receive training from FRITA, but almost as much for those who dedicate their time to travel and share their professional expertise. Please take a look at a sampling below of these experiences;

My involvement with the 2009 deployment to Paraguay was an experience that I will never forget. The opportunity to travel to a country and participate in helping another department was extremely rewarding. The reconnaissance trip with 4 other members not only allowed us to share our firefighting  skills in auto extrication,incident command, first aid, but open our eyes to other challenges faced by underdeveloped counties in building a  strong and safe department. The feeling of helping people who have little equipment or training makes you really appreciate how fortunate we really are.

– Brian, Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services

It was quite by accident that I came to be a member of FRITA, one of those chance happenings that pay off in so many wonderful ways…

El Salvador was one of the last places that I would have visited, but there I was, working with equipment that in some cases was retired in Nanaimo when I was a recruit.  But I was met with smiles and thanks and I can’t say enough about the Bomberos. Sure I conveyed the training as laid out in the objectives but I learned as much from the Bomberos and their solutions to problems that we wouldn’t even dream of. It was almost cast in stone that I would seek further deployments. In 2014 it took me to Panama and further experiences that so much enriched my life.

If this testimonial motivates anyone to FRITA you can expect to work hard, you will meet people that will amaze you with their dedication (here and down there), you will see the fire service for what it truly is (hard working people solving problems for their communities), sunshine literally in the sky and in the hearts of the people you meet. You will get so much back from this program.

 – Bill, Nanaimo Fire Rescue

Having deployed to El Salvador and the Republic of Panama with Fire Rescue International Training Association, I can state with confidence that volunteering with FRITA has provided me with wonderful experiences. Having the opportunity to aid the professional development of fellow firefighters in other countries has been a privilege and has provided much perspective on my own personal good fortune to live in Canada. Certainly any firefighter who deploys with FRITA in the future will feel that they have taken as much as knowledge as they have imparted and will gain new insight to their profession back in Canada.

– Matt, St. Johns Regional Fire Department

Working with the Cuerpo de Bomberos El Salvador recently has been a rewarding experience for me. I learned how other cultures live as well as how firefighting operations are performed in foreign countries. The friends I made with the Bomberos as well as the friendship that developed with my team members extend beyond words.

Seeing the heart and pride that the El Salvador Bomberos have in both their training and their day to day duties, with equipment not up to our accustomed standards, made me appreciate how much they valued our visit. Although it seems to be a struggling country with limited funds available for firefighting, we were treated like special guests.

You get out of your deployment what you put into it, and I got some great lifetime friends. Thank you FRITA for giving me the great experience and awesome opportunity.

– Jorgen, Whitehorse Fire Department

I have had the pleasure to be involved in two deployments in South America. My experiences have left me with a greater appreciation of the brotherhood that exists worldwide. I gained insight into how the local firefighters work hard, despite lacking fundamental equipment and access to necessary training. Their will and desire to improve their skills in order to protect their community was extremely admirable. My overall experiences left me with great memories and a desire to help in a future deployment.

– Patrick, Surrey Fire Service

I have excellent memories of my 2012 deployment to El Salvador with FRITA.  The experience was transformational; both professionally and personally.  It is a wonderful way to learn more about the incredible work that international agencies are doing in the field of emergency response. I would highly recommend anyone to participate in this program.

– David, Delta Fire & Emergency Services

As a graduate of the JIBC career firefighter program and recipient of the one world scholarship, I was given the opportunity to travel to El Salvador with FRITA. The experience opened my eyes to the difficulties of a developing nation’s fire department, and I returned to Canada reinvigorated and more prepared to take on any challenge that came my way. The training delivered by FRITA is second to none, and I know that we left a lasting impact.

– KAI, Justice Institute of British Columbia graduate

Many times I have heard “este es su casa” when arriving at a fire hall in El Salvador or Panama.  It means “this is your home” and it is spoken with the sincerest of meaning.   We are always made to feel at home and very appreciated.  Firefighters in our host countries give 100% of themselves on and off the training ground.

That’s all the thanks we need.

– Kim, Coquitlam Fire/Rescue


After almost 10 years as a firefighter with the City of Surrey, I was looking for an outlet to share my love of the job. Volunteering with FRITA was the perfect opportunity. I found that my training and knowledge that I take for granted here in Canada was brand new to the firefighters of El Salvador and my time there made an impact.

Volunteering for FRITA was not only rewarding for those we trained but an opportunity for me to experience a culture very different than mine. Not only am I helping others, but my volunteer role has helped me grow and learn things about myself.

– Vic, Surrey Fire Service