Category: <span>Fire Fighting</span>

Fire Update 3: Klein Bavaria on 11 January 2022 at 10:55 am (Closing report)

Fire Update 3: Klein Bavaria on 11 January 2022 at 10:55 am

Mopping-up operations ended yesterday at 17H00. A 12-hour patrol and monitoring period by the landowner was done and it is confirmed that the wildfire is extinguished. No lives were lost and no infrastructure damages were recorded.
 
Garden Route District Municipality would like to extend its thank yous to all the supporting agencies who assisted its firefighters during this period. These role players include South Cape Fire Protection Association, Bitou and Knysna Municipality Fire Services and Working on Fire (ground and aerial firefighting).
 
Issued by Garden Route District Municipality Communications

9 December 2021 Media Release: Seasonal Firefighters appointed to assist the Garden Route over the fire season

Media Release: Seasonal Firefighters appointed to assist the Garden Route over the fire season

For Immediate Release
9 December 2021

The Garden Route region’s summer season is synonymous with high occurrences of veld, bush and mountain fires. This time of the year is popularly known as a ‘Fire Season’ across the Western Cape. However, climate change has blurred the timelines of fire seasons and authorities now remain on high alert throughout the year, even though summer is considered the peak season for fires.

In response to the risks associated with higher temperatures experienced locally and globally, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire Services recently recruited twenty (20) temporary firefighters.

Seasonal firefighters must have the following essential qualifications: Firefighting 1, Hazmat Awareness and First Aid Level 3, as it provides a solid foundation for firefighting. Additional to their qualifications, each person attended an annual Fire Line Safety Training Refresher course, facilitated by the Western Cape Department of Local Government, as well as in-house training specific to wildfires. Such qualifications create superior skills, knowledge and leadership capabilities. It is therefore evident that the recruited seasonal firefighters, without a doubt, will enhance the GRDM Fire and Rescue Services’ effectiveness to fight wildfires.

During their time with the GRDM, they will work day and night shifts. Day shifts start at 06h00 and end by 18h00. Night shifts run throughout the evening from 18h00 until 06h00 in the morning. Each person will be deployed across the district at GRDM Fire and Rescue Service stations, including George, Ladismith and Riversdale. They are contracted until 31 March 2022.

BE VIGILANT

GRDM urges the public to practice fire awareness, be vigilant at all times and be extremely cautious when braaing in open spaces. Acting Fire Chief, Deon Stoffels encourages the public not to make fires in any unpermitted areas and not to make fires on windy and hot days. “Those making fires in designated areas must douse fires after they’ve had a braai and use water, sand or moist soil to do this,” said Stoffels. The Acting Fire Chief also reminds the public not to discard any cigarette buds in the environment, because this remains one of the biggest causes of wildfires across the globe.

If any member of the public spots smoke or a wildfire in the Garden Route, which includes Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Greater Oudtshoorn and Kannaland areas, please get in touch with the 24/7 GRDM Emergency Call Centre on 044 805 5071.

 

Caption: Twenty (20) Seasonal Firefighters who will assist the GRDM until 31 March 2021

ENDS

5 November 2021 Media Release: GRDM Firefighters perform outstandingly in a Fire Combat and Rescue Challenge

Media Release: GRDM Firefighters perform outstandingly in a Fire Combat and Rescue Challenge

For Immediate Release
5 November 2021

Firefighters from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), yesterday, 4 November 2021, participated in a Firefighter Combat and Rescue Challenge in Johannesburg. One of the Firefighters from GRDM, Emile Conrad, who is notorious for winning individual challenges, also won the Individual Combat Challenge. The event was hosted by Dräger in conjunction with the South African Emergency Care (SAEC). Dräger is an international company that specialises in the field of medical and firefighting safety technology and products that save lives.

The purpose of the challenge was for firefighting teams to test and promote their skills and fitness while learning and experiencing the latest firefighting equipment and technology on the market.

Presentations were also done about the latest advancements in safety technology for firefighters.

Municipal and industrial Firefighters from mostly across Johannesburg competed in the event and consisted of over 30 individual firefighters and 10 teams competing in the different events. The following GRDM firefighters participated in the competition, namely: Branville Abrahams Emile Conrad, David van Niekerk and Grant Gericke. According to Acting Chief Fire Officer, Deon Stoffels, the team performed well and ended with third (3rd) place in the Rescue Challenge.

Congratulations to our dedicated GRDM firefighters on their sterling performance in the competition!

Feature image caption: Branville Abrahams, Grant Gericke, Emile Conrad and David van Niekerk

ENDS

03 November 2021 Media Release: Firefighters from Garden Route DM educate the youth and elderly about fires

Media Release: Firefighters from Garden Route DM educate the youth and elderly about fires

For Immediate Release
03 November 2021

As part of their daily mandatory functions, firefighters of the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Fire Services eagerly share information about preventative measures to inform, educate and make their fellow Garden Routers aware of fire safety and the prevention of wildfires.

Since the start of the municipality’s financial year (July annually), the GRDM Fire Services rolled out educational awareness interventions primarily focused on schools and communities within traditional high risk rural and on urban interfaces. An urban interface is an area bordering residential areas and wildlife vegetation.

Additionally, the GRDM Fire Services performs an inclusive firefighting function within the Kannaland Municipal area and continuously conducts home fire safety, building fire safety interventions, and compliance inspections.

During the sessions, communities are informed, educated and equipped with the basic knowledge and skills needed in the event of a fire, as well as how to prevent a fire Topics and details being taught to community members, include (click on "+" to expand the tabs below):

  • Warn people inside the house to get out safely.
  • Help people to get out and stay out of harm’s way.
  • If there’s a lot of smoke, crawl out below the smoke to escape the fire.
  • Where possible, have more than one exit from your house, with clear routes to a door.
  • Veld fires spread fast, so these need to be extinguished immediately when discovered, and if safe to do so, the Fire Brigade must be called immediately.
  • Follow the emergency exit signs that are mounted on walls and nearby doors.
  • Move to a safe space of shelter away from the fire or emergency.
  • Move to the point where of gathering.
  • Never use water to kill an electrical fire. It’s also handy to keep a bucket of clean sand ready outside your kitchen door, or if possible, a small fire extinguisher.
  • Do not stand or evacuate uphill from a veld, bush or mountain fire because fires spread faster in an upwards direction.
  • Do not attempt to outrun a fast-spreading veld and bush fire, rather move back to where it has already burned.
  • Veld, bush and mountain fires spread faster uphill and through valleys.
  • A fire needs heat, oxygen and fuel to survive. Without one of these elements, the fire will die.
  • If you don’t have access to water or a fire extinguisher to put out a fire, you can use other methods such as sand or a wet blanket. If the fire occurs on your kitchen stove, try to smother the fire by placing a lid on top of the pot or pan.
  • not leave open fires unattended and should use sand to kill the fire;
  • make sure that your home has no illegal electrical connections and that multi-plugs are not overloaded, as these can overheat, causing sparks and fires;
  • keep the area around your home clear of materials (leaves, rubbish, plastic and old timber) that can start a fire;
  • tell someone who’s playing carelessly with fires, matches or lighters to stop;
  • know your emergency numbers to report veld fires in your area immediately; and
  • Veld fires spread fast, so it needs to be extinguished immediately, or the Fire Brigade must be called immediately.
  • Children and the elderly should be assisted and evacuated to a place of safety first.
  • Fire extinguishers are usually mounted in an area that is freely accessible should be about 1.0 to 1.2 meters from the floor and be unobstructed.
  • Pull the pin.
  • Aim at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever.
  • Sweep side to side.
  • Go to the nearest door or opening, away from the fire;
  • If exit signs are present, follow the exit signs;
  • Go to a safe area away from the fire or to a known assembly point; and
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Never leave an open fire – for example, around a braai – unattended.
  • Don’t let open fires, such as a braai – get too big and out of control.
  • Monitor weather conditions. If the wind is strong, instead put the fire out till the wind dies down.
  • Open fires are a common cause of uncontrolled fires in the Garden Route District. It’s a good idea not to start a fire when it’s hot, dry and especially not when it’s windy.
  • Keep a braai well away from any surrounding vegetation or flammable materials, structures, as well as children and pets.

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LIST OF SESSIONS THAT TOOK PLACE FROM JULY UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2021

Date Intervention Audience Coordinator
06 July 2021 Fire Safety Compliance

Inspection

Ladismith Cheese Factory Platoon Commander

B Afrikander

23 August 2021 Flammable Substance Inspection Klein Karoo Agri Calitzdorp Platoon Commander

B Afrikander

11 September 2021 Public Fire Safety Education Voorbaat Farming Community Snr. FF Devonia Cupido
11 September 2021 Public Fire Safety Education Glentana Informal Community Platoon Commander

E Basson-Coetzer

14 September 2021

 

Fire Safety Compliance

Inspection

WJ Le Roux Primary School Platoon Commander

B Afrikander

16 September 2021 Fire Safety Compliance

Inspection

Sterreland Kleuterskool, Voorbaat Platoon Commander

B Afrikander

16 September 2021 Public Fire Safety Education Alabama Pre-School, Zoar Snr. FF Morne Stuurman
18 September 2021 Disseminating Fire Prevention Material Vleesbay Platoon Commander

H Leslie

22 September 2021 Public Fire Safety Education Hoekwil Primary School Platoon Commander Nelani
29 September 2021 Public Fire Safety Education Die Heuwel Speelskool, Calitzdorp Snr FF W Petzer
 

06 October 2021

Public Fire Safety Education Herold Primary School Snr FF L James
 

09 October 2021

 

Public Fire Safety Education Smutsville, Sedgefield Snr FF J Wolmarans

Educating the public helps prevent fires, save lives and reduce the risk of lives being lost, damage to property and animals dying.  Therefore, it is essential for everyone to be mindful of the hidden fire dangers in and around a home and yard.

30 September 2021 Media Release: Garden Route DM’s long-awaited fire station is coming soon

Garden Route DM’s long-awaited fire station is coming soon

For Immediate Release
30 September 2021

During a Council meeting the Garden Route District Municipal (GRDM) Council took an in-principle decision to proceed with the proposed plan to build a District Fire Station in George. This decision was taken subject to a supporting Council decision from the George Municipality, who subsequently resolved that property would be donated to the GRDM for the construction of such a premises.

According to the GRDM Acting Fire Chief, Mr Johan Brand, the original plan was for the GRDM Fire Services to move from George to Mossel Bay because GRDM has property in Mossel Bay and logistically it would be advantageous to do so. However, after a thorough investigation, consultation, and calculations, the move was reconsidered because of the impact it would have on personnel and their families.

For the GRDM to have its own fire station is a considerable upgrade for the institution, especially one built according to SA Regulations and Standards for fire stations.  The proposed fire station will be furnished with overhead automotive roll-up doors, a traditional firefighter sliding pole, a backup electricity generator, firefighters sleeping quarters and a fully equipped gym.   The GRDM never had their own fire station, and years ago, they had to operate fire services from a makeshift base consisting of tents.

The GRDM Fire and Rescue Services is pleased and excited about the new fire station. “We aim to start construction by the end of 2021 and foresee that it will take about a year for the construction to be completed,” said Mr Brand.

The new GRDM Fire Station will cover 5 877 m2, situated on erven 22494 & 22495, Pearl Street in the Tamsui Industria, George.

Photo Credit:dusanpetkovic

 

8 July 2021 Media Release: GRDM Council, Management and Staff bid their final farewell to Fire Chief Freddy Thaver

Media Release: GRDM Council, Management and Staff bid their final farewell to Fire Chief Freddy Thaver

08 July 2021
For immediate release

This morning, Council, Management and Staff of Garden Route District Municipality  (GRDM) bid their colleague, the late Fire Chief, Mr Freddy Thaver, farewell during a touching memorial services held by the Municipality at its Council Chambers in George. Mr Thaver passed away in George on Thursday, 1 July 2021 at the age of 53 after experiencing Covid-related complications.

Ms Louise Hoek, with her daughter (back), receiving the helmet of the departed Fire Chief, Mr Thaver, as token of appreciation for his selfless service rendered to the Garden Route district. With them in the back are: Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu (left) and Mayor Memory Booysen (right).

Mr Thaver joined the GRDM on 1 April 2016, to lead the Fire Services Unit as Chief Fire Officer.  He owned diverse characteristics, from being a firm, decisive and strict leader and person, to being a father figure for many and always joyous and full of laughter.

During his eulogy at the event, Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen, referred to Mr Thaver as an expert in his field.  He recalled an incident at one of the wildfires in Hessequa. He explained that the wildfire was of such a nature that it almost burned down the Joint Operating Centre (JOC).  “In a state of panic, farmers arrived at the JOC with ideas to contain the wildfires.  However, Freddy was determined and took a stance that the idea would not work”. He said that it was due to these firm attributes that Freddy was a unique and admirable Fire Chief.

Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu, said that Thaver was no push-over. “He had principles and stood for what he believed in”. He also recalled many experiences with him and fellow firefighters, but up to this far he was not aware of anything that Mr Thaver said behind his back which he did not tell in his face. Adding to this Mr Stratu said: “It was always a marvel to watch him fight his battles. Through this, Mr Stratu highlighted: “He was passionate about his work, very strong-willed and very decisive about his positions”.

Ms Louise Hoek, fiancée of the late Mr Thaver, mentioned that he was a proud family man and that he was passionate about firefighting and saving lives. She also remembered how he fought for those who he dearly loved. “I will never forget the example he set. When I met him the first time, he was clearly presented as a proud man in uniform”. Adding to this, she said: “I never thought that today I would be paying tribute to his life at a memorial service, instead I thought we would have done our wedding vows around now”.  She concluded: “Despite of the heartbreak I am grateful for the opportunity to have met him and that we could be part of the life of this special human being”.

Mr Deon Stoffels, GRDM Station Commander, on behalf of the team members at the various GRDM fire stations, described Mr Thaver not only as a fire chief, but a father to the firefighters, a mentor and motivator.  “He was also a man with great respect for his career and others, disciplined and a person of integrity.  He furthermore had a high level of intellect relating to his profession. He had good interpersonal skills and was a hard-working fire chief, determined, but also funny with a unique sense of humour”. The GRDM Riversdale team remembered Mr Thaver as a highly valued and respected member of the Fire Services Department, as well as GRDM. “The effects of his passing are already felt”. Further to this, they said, “Mr Freddy Thaver was a wonderful Chief who understood the meaning of the word ‘leader’. He was always focused on the good of this Fire Services Unit, rather than of his own benefit”.

Apart from only focusing on managing the firefighting team, Mr Thaver made many contributions to this department. The female firefighters recalled the efforts of Mr Thaver in relation to their needs in the service.  “We could do anything that we put our minds to, because we had our Chief’s full support – we will miss him for all his efforts in ensuring that we live our full potential in our profession”.

The service was directed by Mr Clive Africa, Executive Manager for Community Services, responsible for fire services at GRDM.

Mr Thaver was laid to rest in at his home town in Durban, on Sunday, 4 July 2021.

“Rest in Peace Freddy Thaver.

We as Council and Staff, most of all the Firefighters, will sorely miss you”.

ENDS

2 July 2021 Media Release: GRDM Fire Chief passes away

Media Release: GRDM Fire Chief passes away

02 July 2021
For immediate release

It was a heavy and sad atmosphere at the offices of Garden Route District Municipality this morning during a pray session, after councillors and staff were informed about the sudden passing of their dear colleague, Fire Chief, Mr Freddy Thaver.

Mr Thaver passed away on Thursday, 1 July 2021 in George after a short illness.

During the prayer session the Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu, conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and all his colleagues. During the session he also urged staff to continue to be extra cautious during this 3rd wave of the pandemic and to take extra care of themselves and their families in the fight against the pandemic.

A virtual memorial service will be hosted by the municipality during next week – date yet to be confirmed. The late Mr Thaver will be laid to rest at his home town in Durban on Sunday, 4 July 2021.

A full statement will be shared with the public in due course.

ENDS

4 May 2021 Media Release: GRDM Council and Staff acknowledge Firefighters on International Firefighters Day

Media Release: GRDM Council and Staff acknowledge Firefighters on International Firefighters Day

For Immediate Release
4 May 2021

This day, 4 May, marks an important day on the calendar of firefighters all around the world, especially for the role they fulfil when protecting the lives of people, assets and livestock. On this day we remember all their efforts when they have to risk their lives to protect others.

While we all are fast asleep at night, they ensure our safety by protecting us from deadly blazes that could destroy our lives in an instant and when they are unable to save people and/or properties, they also feel the pain and heartache experienced by those families. We must recognise that firefighers also have families of their own who are burdened with the thought of losing one of their loved ones.

Simultaneously, with the Covid-19 pandemic still in our midst, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) firefighting team plays a vital role in disinfecting various public places and facilities, to combat the deadly virus from spreading faster through the Garden Route. We are grateful towards all firefighters who participate in the initiative while they aim for a safer, clean and Covid-free environment.

Lastly, particularly on this day, we remember and pay tribute to all firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty – may their souls continue to rest in peace.

We respect and salute you all, every GRDM firefighter and volunteer!

Thank you for your dedicated and selfless service!

From Council, Management and Staff at Garden Route District Municipality.

30 April 2021 Media Release: Adaptive Capacity Facility Climate Resilient Human Settlements Pilot Programme to be project managed by the GRDM

Media Release: Adaptive Capacity Facility Climate Resilient Human Settlements Pilot Programme to be project managed by the GRDM

For immediate release
30 April 2021

Adaptive Capacity Facility Climate Resilient Human Settlements Pilot Programme to be project managed by the GRDM

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is one of three (3) district municipalities that were selected to be the beneficiaries of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) Adaptive Capacity Facility (ACF): Climate Resilient Human Settlements Pilot Programme. The Government of Flanders will fund this programme through its Country Strategy Paper (CSPIII) over five years. The funds will mainly be used to implement climate change adaptation projects that build human adaptive capacity.

The programme intends to select projects across three (3) typologies. These include urban settlements, peri-urban settlements, and rural settlements. These settlement typologies fall under the banner of “testing climate-resilient human settlements”.

After an extensive two-day site visit investigation by DEFF from 22 – 26 March 2021, the high fire risks within the GRDM and the threat of these fire risks to vulnerable communities were identified as a focus area for a project that will be funded as part of the programme.

The first co-creation workshop (one of three planned workshops) was arranged in Knysna to workshop possible fire resilient projects and challenges. The workshop included all the key stakeholders within the project area and the participation of some vulnerable community leaders/members.

The day before the workshop, on 23 March 2021, DEFF’s videographer visited some key fire risk areas in the Garden Route to document the conditions and challenges on the ground.

At the workshop, various presenters provided information on the project focus areas, fire risks and impacts within the GRDM, as well as current and future climatic changes and predictions on what this will mean for the fire risks to vulnerable communities going forward.

The workshop also included conveying the traumatic experiences of stakeholders such as the authorities and vulnerable community members during the 2017/18 Knysna/Plettenberg Bay fires.

Second Workshop – 23 April 2021

From 21 to 23 April 2021, the GRDM, DEFF/ACF and critical stakeholders had a fruitful second workshop to have more detailed discussions on priority interventions to be unpacked into projects. The workshop outcomes included the following priority intervention categories:

  • Ecosystem-based fuel load management: To include block burning, fire breaks, alien clearing as well as an initial follow-up; fire-scaping; access /escape route management;
  • Early fire detection and monitoring: cameras and towers;
  • Training: Development of a training academy, train the trainer, “training – to be wildfire ready”, basic land management principles; workshops on legislative requirements.

During the two workshop engagements, all the stakeholders agreed upon the following project criteria. The GRDM will lead the project, and although the initial idea was that the interventions would be geographically focused in the Knysna area, particular emphasis will be on the areas identified as high-risk areas in the recently completed macro fire risk assessment by the GRDM.

The project will address fire risk from a climate change adaptation perspective. The project interventions must have a robust interface with human settlements (meaning that we need to consider the project interventions’ impacts on the selected human settlements, and we need to take into consideration the needs of that human settlement/s);

The project interventions will be located within an urban setting. This does not mean that the settlements need to be formal dwellings and “high-income” communities; on the contrary, grassroots communities vulnerable urban settlements will be the primary target audience. This means that informal settlements and forest communities with strong links to urban areas will be targeted.

 

ENDS

12 March 2021 Weather Alert: Severe Weather Alert: Veld Fires

Weather Alert: Severe Weather Alert: Veld Fires

Please find included the Impact Based Warning for the Western Cape and Namaqua Region of Northern Cape:

HAZARD:  Veld Fire Conditions

ALERT LEVEL:  Red (L10)

AFFECTED MUNICIPALITIES: Beaufort West, Hantam, Kannaland, Karoo Hoogland, Khâi-Ma, Laingsburg, Oudtshoorn, Prince Albert

VALID FROM (SAST):  12/03/21 08h00

VALID TO (SAST):  12/03/21 08h00

DISCUSSION: Weather conditions which include hot temperatures and fresh winds might result in the development of runaway and veld/bush fires.

Impact: Conditions are such that the FDI index is above 75. Under these conditions fires may develop and spread rapidly resulting in damage to property and possible loss of human and/or animal life.

Instruction: All personnel and equipment should be removed from the field. Fire teams, labour and equipment are to be placed on full stand-by. A first sign of smoke, every possible measure should b*e taken in order to bring the fire under control in the shortest possible time.

SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE
Cape Town Weather Office
2nd Floor: Oval Office Park
Cape Town Int airport
Freight Road
Matroosfontein
Cape Town

E-Mail: factfc@weathersa.co.za
Tel: 021 935 5700

>>>Legal notice:<<<

“This warning from SA Weather Service must be communicated as received and may not be altered under any circumstance.

It must be forwarded or communicated in its entirety and no portion hereof may be replicated or copied and distributed.”

Report any weather related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at:
044 805 5071.