Category: <span>Fire Fighting</span>

26 April 2022 Media Release: Best of luck Emile Conrad! Keep our flag high!

Media Release:  Best of luck Emile Conrad! Keep our flag high!

 For Immediate Release
26 April 2022

Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Senior Firefighter and multiple winner of the “Sout African Toughest Firefighter Alive Competition,” Emile Conrad, will tomorrow, 27 April 2022, depart to Lisbon, Portugal. There he will compete in the 14th edition of the World Firefighters Games, which will take place from 30 April to 7 May 2022.

Emilie Conrad, a well-known name in the firefighting community in South Africa. He has in the past won the “Men’s Individual” category of the SA Toughest Firefighter Alive Competition on multiple occasions since his first attempt in 2011.

The World Firefighters Games, which are being held every two years in a different country, brings together firefighters from all over the globe. These include full-time, part-time, volunteer structural firefighters, bush firefighters, aviation fire services, and military emergency response personnel.  The event includes more than 50 different sports and challenges, including archery, rugby sevens, windsurfing, poker, swimming, athletics, and softball, with the “Toughest Firefighter Alive” being the crowning achievement.

Emile Conrad will be part of a team of twenty (20) firefighters, eighteen (18) from the Western Cape and two (2) from the Eastern Cape who will compete under the banner of the Western Cape Firefighters Association. These men and women will be representing South Africa as well as their respective municipalities during the competition.

In response to a question regarding the competition, Conrad responded enthusiastically, “I’m very overwhelmed and thankful for everything that God has done in my life. In addition, I would like to thank my friends and Charnaud Protective Wear, who not only provided me with the best fire fighting gear, but also made this trip to Lisbon, Portugal possible.  I cannot wait for ‘Game Day!’”

The GRDM management and staff would like to wish Emile Conrad a safe journey and the best of luck in the competition.

12 April 2022 Media Release: GRDM Firefighters present Fire Safety and Fire Prevention educational sessions to Garden Routers

GRDM Firefighters present Fire Safety and Fire Prevention educational sessions to Garden Routers

For Immediate Release
12 April 2022

During the last few weeks the Fire & Rescue Services of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) conducted several fire awareness sessions within Garden Route district to educate residents about the dangers of fire as well as the prevention of unwanted fires.

GRDM Firefighters presents the Fire & Life Safety session to learners at Heidedal Primary School.

On the 23 March 2022, the team visited the Heidedal Primary School in George to present a Fire and Life Safety educational session to the learners from Grade R and Grade 1. The team also conducted a Fire Extinguisher Training Session at the Caltex Petrol Station in Wilderness of which five (5) participants formed part of the session. In closing their educational activities for March, the George team, on the 30 March , visited a larger group of forty-eight (48) learners from Ballotsview in Parkdene, to present a Fire and Life session to the “Speel en Leersentrum”.

GRDM Firefighting team conducts Fire Extinguisher Training Session at the Caltex Petrol Station.

It was also an eventful month for the GRDM Kannaland Firefighting team, as they conducted training and fire safety sessions at various establishments within the Kannaland area. The sessions presented by the team, include the following:

  • 16/03/2022 – Emergency Evacuation Training presented to learners and staff of E.K Primary School at their school in Zoar.
  • 23/03/2022 – An Emergency Evacuation exercise at Huis Izak Van Tonder Old Age Home presented to the staff and elders at their premises in Ladismith.
  • 23/03/2022 – Fire Extinguisher Training to the staff of Huis Izak Van Tonder Old Age Home at their premises in Ladismith.
  • 30/03/2022 – Fire Extinguisher Training presented to staff of Huis Izak Van Tonder Old Age Home at their premises in Ladismith.

All sessions were well received as the firefighters and facilitators used practical methods to ensure that toddlers, learners and participants remained interest in the topics that were discussed and demonstrated.

Learners from the ‘Speel en Leersentrum’ during their session presented by the GRDM Firefighters.

These continuous initiatives form part of the GRDM Fire Services’ Fire Prevention and Fire Safety functions. Whilst the focus is placed on rural communities, businesses and schools within the residential areas are also assisted upon request.

Some of the Fire Safety tips shared at the sessions include:

  1. Do not make drum fires in your house, and if done, please ensure that the fires are extinguished before going to bed.
  2. Continue to burn rubbish and debris in designated areas.
  3. Do not make large ‘bond’ fires in between informal houses especially when winds are prevailing as the conduction and radiation of heat happen easily from one structure to another.


04 March 2022 Media Release: GRDM Firefighters educate Garden Routers about wildfires in Summer seasons

Media Release: GRDM Firefighters educate Garden Routers about wildfires in Summer seasons

For immediate release
04 March 2022

 The Garden Route is historically a fire-prone district with many areas which are a high risk to fire.  

During the hot and dry Summer season, wildfires are more prevalent and are difficult to control. Wildfires happen mostly outside urban areas that also have the potential to spread out of control. These types of fires also have the potential to kill people and destroy property. 

Most wildfires are started by people, compared to a lesser amount which is started by natural occurrences such as lightning. 

GRDM Disaster Management official with a member of the Melkhoutfontein community member during a Fire Awareness Campaign.

When it comes to fire safety awareness, one of the most important methods is identifying potential fire threats and ensuring that a well-thought-out fire safety plan is in place as soon as a fire occurs. 

The Fire & Rescue Service and Disaster Management teams from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) continuously place a lot of efforts on preventative measures in the form of awareness and education. They especially do this in and around rural and remote areas and within high-risk areas on the urban perimeters.  Areas in George such as Hoekwil/Touwsranten and Wilderness Heights recently received educational visits from the GRDM firefighters.

Members from the Garden Route District Disaster Management Centre furthermore collaborated with Hessequa Fire and Rescue Unit to conduct a Fire Awareness Campaign at the Melkhoutfontein “Kerksegronde” community. The aim was to teach the community to be fire safe and prevent undesirable structural and veld fires, also to raise awareness of the dangers of fires. The community was encouraged to take responsibility for reducing fire risks and its potential impacts. Emergency contact details were also distributed. 

To date the fire season has been relatively busy, as well as around the Western Cape.

To illustrate further (in the pictures) are interventions undertaken by the GRDM firefighters during the past ‘non-fire season’ in different areas within the Garden Route district where the team created awareness about fire safety.


03 March 2022 Public Notice: Application for consolidation, rezoning and consent use: Erven 22494 and 22495, George




Notice is hereby given in terms of Section 46 of the George Land Use Planning By-Law, 2015 that the undermentioned application has been received on Erven 22494 and 22495, George by the George Municipality, Directorate: Planning and Development.

Any objection(s) and/or comment(s) with full reasons therefore and how their interests are affected, should be lodged in writing via email to the responsible Administrative Officer (Primrose Nako – or if no email facility is available, via SMS to the cellphone number of the said Official (only provided on request) and/or to the applicant, in terms of Section 50 of the George Land Use Planning By-Law, 2015, on or before 02 April 2022, quoting the application erf number, your property description, physical address and full contact details (email and telephone) of the person or body submitting the objection/comment, without which the Municipality/applicant cannot correspond with the said person/body.

Enquiries or requests for more information on the application may be directed to the Town Planning Department on Telephone: 044 801 9171 or email the responsible Administrative Officer (Primrose Nako – or the applicant (details below). The application will also be available, on the Municipal Website ( for 30 days. Any comments received after the aforementioned closing date may be disregarded.

Property Description

Erven 22494 & 22495, George


Garden Route District Municipality (Email: (Tel: 044 803 1300)

Municipal reference number – 2198116

Nature of application

Application is submitted in terms of Sections 15(2)(e),(a) & (o) of the George Land Use Planning By-Law, 2015 for the following:

  • Consolidation of Erven 22494 & 22495, George.
  • Rezoning of the consolidated portion from Industrial Zone II to Utility Zone.
  • To allow for a Consent Use to accommodate an Authority Use (Fire Station and offices).

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.


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


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


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.



Date Intervention Audience Coordinator
06 July 2021 Fire Safety Compliance


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


WJ Le Roux Primary School Platoon Commander

B Afrikander

16 September 2021 Fire Safety Compliance


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”.