As part of the International Association of Fire Chief's International Fellowship Program, Charlotte Fire welcomed six Saudi firefighters to the ranks.
Since 2016 the International Association of Fire Chiefs' International Fellowship Program, has graduated 19 Cohorts featuring experienced firefighters who work for the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, more commonly known as Saudi Aramco. Aramco is sponsoring the firefighter's visit.
The IAFC-sponsored initiative embeds foreign firefighters into busy U.S. fire departments to expose them to U.S. fire service culture and best practices. This partnership has seen over 160 Saudi firefighters come through the U.S. and be embedded into American firehouses.
In May 2022, the City of Charlotte became the first City in the southeastern United States to receive the designation of Certified Welcoming place and remains one of just 16 cities and counties across the United States to receive this designation.
The firefighters arrived at the Charlotte Police and Fire training academy on Nov. 28. Each fellow will attend a week-long orientation at the Charlotte Fire Training Academy, followed by several weeks of skills verification activities. Fellows will be assigned and arrive at firehouses in mid December, where they will ride as a fifth member until the completion of their visit.
Fellows will work 24-hour shifts alongside their assigned Charlotte Fire crews and will reside in the stations only when on-shift. Fellows will have their own housing arrangements when off-shift.
The program four primary objectives are to:
STRENGTHEN core competencies through exposure to high-call volume operational environments
DEVELOP their knowledge, skills, and abilities according to industry best-practices
ADOPT the leadership principles of the U.S. fire service, and
UNDERSTAND the culture and values of the U.S. fire service
These firefighters will be seen in our community will work as part of the regular crews of Charlotte Fire. They are trained and held to the same standards as all firefighters, and they will serve up to six months depending on the program.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide.