Charlottesville Fire Department officials soon will send 30 sets of surplus firefighting gear to sister city Winneba, Ghana.

Two city fire department employees on Friday drove a van from Maryland packed with protective equipment, including helmets, fire suits, gloves and boots. The equipment will be shipped to Winneba as part of a partnership between Charlottesville and the Ghanaian city.

Later this summer, two city firefighters will go to Winneba to help with a community risk assessment that will be used to develop training and education programs in the African city to improve fire safety.

Africa has the highest fire losses of any region of the world, in terms of frequency and total losses, fire officials said.

“The Charlottesville Fire Department is grateful for the support of the Charlottesville Sister City Commission. We are excited about developing our relationship with the firefighters in Winneba and ultimately improving safety in our communities,” said city Fire Chief Andrew Baxter.

In addition to Winneba, Charlottesville’s sister cities are Besancon, France; Pleven, Bulgaria; and Poggio a Caiano, Italy.

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