Every time a major fire erupts in Lebanon like the one that destroyed the Safra Carpet Factory, the issue of crisis management and the effectiveness of rescue units is raised. Why were the fire trucks late? Why didn’t they have the proper material to extinguish the fire? Why don’t we have advanced equipment? Who’s responsible for all that?

The truth is the Lebanese Civil Defence unit is made out of volunteers and is funded and administered by the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities. These volunteers are brave Lebanese who are willingly fighting for our safety and jeopardizing their lives sometimes. However and despite their utmost importance, the fire brigades lack funding, equipment, training and personnel in Lebanon. I have no idea why the Ministry or the government doesn’t assign a proper budget for these vital units but this behavior is undermining their work and sending out the wrong image to people.

Having said that, and in an attempt to raise awareness and share the Civil Defence work with people, members of five different fire brigades in Lebanon (Rass Beirut, Jounieh, Zouk, Faraya and Tripoli) have created a Facebook page where they share their everyday experiences and show us how difficult and challenging it can get for them. More importantly, they want people to memorize the emergency hotline 125 because believe it or not, a lot of Lebanese don’t know it yet.

I think it’s a nice initiative and a good start to reach out to the Lebanese Online Community and get them to interact with these courageous workers.

Check out the Facebook Page, Like it and spread the message.

PS: I am going to ask the Civil Defence if I could spend a whole day with them and share it with you guys.