Korean Firefighters Visit West Pierce Fire & Rescue

In mid-September, West Pierce Fire & Rescue welcomed four visiting firefighters from Busan, South Korea, a port city located approximately 200 miles south of Seoul. Each have been honored for their actions in the line of duty over their careers. The visit was sponsored by the Korean government with the intent of having the firefighters meet their counterparts in the United States and to tour the station and equipment. The group chose to visit West Pierce Fire & Rescue because one of firefighters has a relative who is a University Place resident and they had an interest in visiting WPFR’s 9/11 Reflection Park.

The firefighters met at Station 31 in University Place one afternoon, where they were given a tour of the station and apparatus. They then met with Chief Sharp, along with a few other members of WPFR, and traded symbolic items within the fire service, including shirts, uniform patches and challenge coins.

“This was such a great experience for our folks. It’s always great to broaden our horizons not only meeting firefighters from other agencies within the United States, but from across the globe. We are honored they chose to visit and allow us to learn more about the fire service from each other,” Chief Jim Sharp said. “This is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day.”

The firefighters toured the 9/11 Reflection Park and talked with West Pierce firefighters about September 11, as well as the annual remembrance ceremonies held to honor those lost. After the park tour, they spent some time learning about the apparatus WPFR has, as well as the equipment utilized on each one. All of the firefighters learned more about their counterparts, how each department worked, the types of incidents they respond to and how they mitigate situations based on their different resources.

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