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Fire Fighting

5 July 2024 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality Constructs Fire Breaks to Protect Properties and Enhance Safety

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality Constructs Fire Breaks to Protect Properties and Enhance Safety

5 July 2024

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) completed a fire break on its property at Skimmelkrans Herolds Bay, to enhance the safety and to protect the area from the threat of wildfires. The best time of the year to create fire breaks is during cooler, wetter months when vegetation is less likely to ignite out of control.

“The construction of these fire breaks demonstrates our commitment to the safety and well-being of our community. We are taking proactive steps to mitigate fire risks and ensure that we are well-prepared to respond to any potential threats,” said GRDM Station Commander, Fire Safety and Training, Daniel Dippenaar.

The construction of fire breaks is a critical component of the GRDM’s comprehensive fire management strategy, which includes fuel load and alien invasive plant reduction. Strategically placed barriers are designed to slow or stop the spread of fires, providing a line of defense for both natural landscapes and human settlements. While protecting human lives and properties, these measures also help preserve natural habitats and biodiversity.

This project was completed on 4 July 2024 in collaboration with Working on Fire (WoF). The next step in the process is to perform a fuel load reduction prescribed burn.

“TWe are taking proactive steps to mitigate fire risks and ensure that we are compliant with legislation, in terms of the National Veld and Forest Fire Act,” said Dippenaar.

WoF and GRDM Firefighters on site in Herolds Bay to create fire breaks.

For more information on fire safety and to request an educational session, contact Daniel Dippenaar via e-mail, ddippenaar@gardenroute.gov.za or alternatively the Chief Fire Officer, Deon Stoffels at deon@gardenroute.gov.za.

Feature image: Xola Melaphi from working on fire was part of the team who used various equipment to create a fire break – including chainsaws, brush cutters, hand-held slashers and rakes.

ENDS

4 July 2024 Media Release: Fire Safety Education rolled out to residents of Herold

Media Release: Fire Safety Education rolled out to residents of Herold

4 July 2024

In a dedicated effort to educate residents of the Garden Route on vital fire safety practices, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Firefighters recently held a ‘Fire and Life Safety’ talk for children and a few adults from Herold.

Some of the pictures captured during the education session.

The event, which took place on July 3, 2024 involved a group eager to learn how to stay safe in various emergency situations. Senior Fire Fighter Bennie van Vuuren, Martino Jacobs, and Volunteer Fire Fighter Jivika Balram delivered an engaging presentation to 40 children. Essential topics such as what to do in case of a fire, dialing 112 or 044 805 5071, and recognising potential hazards at home, are some of the topics they focused on.

The group participated in hands-on activities, including practicing stop-drop-and-roll methods, and how to crawl or move low under smoke. They also had the opportunity to explore a fire truck and try on some firefighters’ gear.

Each child received take-home materials, including safety checklists and a family emergency plan template, to share with their loved ones.

Highlighting the importance of early education in fire safety, Senior Fire Fighter Bennie van Vuuren said, “Teaching children about fire and life safety from a young age is crucial. It empowers them with the knowledge they need to react appropriately in emergencies.”

The enthusiasm from the kids and the support from their parents were inspiring. The Firefighters from GRDM continue to offering educational talks regularly, ensuring that safety education remains a cornerstone of community outreach efforts.

Feature image: Some of the moments captured during the education session held in Herold.

ENDS

25 June 2024 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality Hosts Workshop on Healthy Lifestyles for Firefighters

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality Hosts Workshop on Healthy Lifestyles for Firefighters

25 June 2024

Yesterday, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) held an educational workshop for its firefighters on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The workshop was presented by Lize Esterhuysen, a registered Dietitian and International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Recognizing the critical role that firefighters play, GRDM organized this session to emphasize the importance of health and wellness for these vital members of the organization and the community.

The session was both interactive and informative, featuring practical examples to enhance understanding. Esterhuysen covered a range of essential topics, including:

  • Total Energy Expenditure
  • 5 Step Plan for Goal Setting
  • Body Composition
  • Eating for Sustained Energy
  • High-Quality Protein Sources
  • Types of Healthy Fats
  • Understanding the Microbiome and Important Foods
  • Tips for Selecting and Preparing Healthy Food

During the workshop, firefighters received valuable advice on reading nutrition labels, planning weekly menus, and the benefits of using fresh or frozen produce. Emphasis was placed on ensuring each food group is included in every meal.

The goal-setting process was a major highlight, comprising five critical steps:

  1. Define Your Goals: Discussing what firefighters aim to achieve and why focusing on a healthy lifestyle is crucial.

  2. Start Small: Participants wrote down three small dietary goals they could implement immediately.

  3. Plan Ahead: Encouragement to plan meals and snacks for the week and prepare in bulk to save time.

  4. Add, don’t Subtract: Exploring ways to enhance usual meals with healthier additions. For example, adding nutritious ingredients to a mince pasta dish.

  5. Eat real food: To focus on whole foods, encouraging the consumption of fresh, unprocessed foods with a short shelf life.

Lize Esterhuysen provided a thorough explanation on the importance of gut health for firefighters, emphasizing its critical role in overall well-being and physical performance. She highlighted that a healthy gut supports better nutrient absorption, stronger immunity, and improved mental health—all crucial for the demanding nature of firefighting. To actively support and improve gut health, Ms. Esterhuysen advised incorporating a diet rich in fiber, probiotics, and prebiotics, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods. She also stressed the importance of staying hydrated, managing stress, and avoiding processed foods to maintain a healthy and balanced gut microbiome.

Through these examples, firefighters were able to apply the workshop’s principles to their daily lives.

Feature Image Caption: Dietitian Lize Esterhuysen with some of the GRDM Firefighters who attended the information session.

Activities during the healthy lifestyle workshop

-END-

16 April 2024 Media Release: GRDM continues to create fire breaks on its properties

Media Release: GRDM continues to create fire breaks on its properties

16 April 2024

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in collaboration with Working on Fire (WoF), created several fire breaks on its properties. The GRDM owns several properties along coastal areas like Rheebok, Glentana, Herolds Bay, Hansmoeskraal, Victoria Bay, Swartvlei and Buffalo Bay. WoF and GRDM work hand-in-glove to create fire breaks in high-risk fire areas.

During Autumn and Winter, properties are prioritised for several reasons – the effects of a change in climate, compliance with relevant legislation, wildfire risks, as well as management of alien invasive plant species. Compliance with the National Veld and Forest Fire Act 101 of 1998, also remains a priority.

The teams already covered Rheebok in February 2024 and concluded the project by clearing the highly invasive Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) trees in the first week of April 2024. On 15 April, the team proceeded to a second property based in Glentana, which borders the George and Mossel Bay Municipalities. This property has significant fuel load and especially dozens of Black Wattle Trees need to be reduced.

It is important to note that alien Invasive plants contribute mostly to fire fuel loads. Some of the most prevalent invasive plants include Black Wattle, Rooikrans, Pine (wild growing), Gum trees (Eucalyptus), Hakea, Port Jackson, Long leaved wattle, and Black Wood.

According to Deon Stoffels, the GRDM Fire Chief: “Landowners are responsible for preparing and maintaining fire breaks. Each owner on whose land a veldfire may start, or from whose land it may spread must prepare and maintain a firebreak on his or her side of the boundary between his or her land and any adjoining land.”

Firebreaks are particularly important as it provides for an area of reduced fuel load which will reduce the intensity of a wildfire and allow for more effective combating.

Feature Image: A firebreak on a Rheebok property that is owned by the Garden Route District Municipality.

ENDS

21 March 2024 Media Release: GRDM Senior Firefighter Emile Conrad and Team Triumph at Aramco Firefighter Challenge 2024

Media Release: GRDM Senior Firefighter Emile Conrad and Team Triumph at Aramco Firefighter Challenge 2024

For Immediate Release
21 March 2024

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) proudly congratulates Senior Firefighter Emile Conrad alongside his wife Bonita, also a firefighter at GRDM and two other firefighters, Baigum Abrahams and Alno Kroon from the City of Cape Town, for their performance at the Aramco Firefighter Challenge 2024.

This challenge was held in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

The Aramco Firefighter Challenge brings together firefighting professionals, enthusiasts, and teams from across the globe. This year’s event attracted over 87 000 people, including 314 firefighter competitors. Of them, 117 were from 29 different countries.

The South African team participated in the individual as well as the mix-relay challenges.

Conrad secured a 3rd place in his age category and ranked 9th overall. His female team member, Baigum Abrahams’ won a silver medal in stair-running and a 1st place overall in her age category. The other two teammates also performed exceptional and represented RSA well.

“The competition is unique in a sense that all the competitors live and travel together, which in my opinion brings them much closer, so the impact of learning from one another and building camaraderie is much more amplified. We learned a lot from the fellow competitors and how they do things in Saudi Arabia,” said Emile.

Overall the performance of the South African team was exceptional, ‘we made some new friends and met up with old friends we met at the previous competition’, Conrad concluded.

Meet the four firefighters who proudly represented their country during the 2024 Aramco Firefighter Challenge in Saudi Arabia.

-ENDS-

15 Februarie 2024 Mediavrystelling: Basiese Brandbestrydingsopleiding na Van Wyksdorp-inwoners uitgerol

Mediavrystelling: Basiese Brandbestrydingsopleiding na Van Wyksdorp-inwoners uitgerol

15 Februarie 2024

Die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit (TDM), Brand en Reddingsdienste het hierdie week vanaf 12 tot 15 Februarie 2024, inwoners van die Van Wyksdorp-area opgelei in basiese brandbestryding.

Die opleiding het begin met een (1) dag van teorie en (1) dag van praktiese vaardighede wat gefokus het om brande rondom strukture en binnenshuis te hanteer. Die studente is ook geleer oor die basiese beginsels wat gepaard gaan met die hantering van veldbrande in hul ontstekings fase.

TDM se Brandweerdienste sal ook ‘n 1000-liter watertenk en pomp-sleepwa aan die span voorsien. Dit sal aansienlik bydra tot vinnige reaksietyd op brande wat skielik ontstaan in die Van Wyksdorp-omgewing.

Daniel Dippenaar, TDM Stasiebevelvoerder: Brandveiligheid en Opleiding, het die opleiding gefasiliteer. Hy is ondersteun deur TDM-brandbestryders van Ladismith, asook Cornelius Willemse en sy medewerkers van die Kannaland Munisipaliteit se Beskermdienste.

Soorgelyke opleiding word beplan om plaas te vind aan die einde van Februarie 2024 vir die Witsand-area in die Hessequa-streek.


Media Release: First Responder Basic Firefighting Training rolled out to Van Wyksdorp residents

15 February 2024

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire Services rolled out Community First Responder Basic Firefighting Training this week from 12 to 15 February 2024 to 15 locals.

The Training was done as a step in the direction of establishing a First Responder Team in Van Wyksdorp, Kannaland.

The training commenced with one day of theoretical and one day of practical skills to deal with fires around structures and within homes. The participants were also taught the basics of how to deal with suppressing wildfires.

GRDM Fire and Rescue Services will also supply the team with a 1000-litre water tank and pump trailer. This will greatly assist with rapid responses to fire outbreaks within the Van Wyksdorp area.

Daniel Dippenaar, GRDM Station Commander: Fire Safety and Training, facilitated the training and was assisted by the GRDM crew in Ladismith as well as Cornelius Willemse and a team of Kannaland Municipality Protection Services.

A similar intervention is planned for the Witsand area at the end of February 2024.

ENDS

 

7 February 2024 Media Release: GRDM Riversdale Firefighting crew assists Overstrand Firefighters with a raging fire at Pearly Beach

Media Release: GRDM Riversdale Firefighting crew assists Overstrand Firefighters with a raging fire at Pearly Beach

For immediate release
7 February 2024

On Thursday 01 February 2024, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire Services received a call for assistance from the Overstrand Municipality regarding the ongoing fires that raged in the Overstrand Municipal area, specifically the Pearly Beach area.

With rapid arrangements made, a GRDM Fire crew from the Riversdale substation left their premises on Friday morning at 03h00 to assist Overstand with the firefighting task.  With their check-in at 07h15 the crew was ready at the Incident Command Post to perform their first assignment.

The team arrived back at their station on Monday, 5 February 2024.

Chief Fire Officer at Overstrand, Lester Smith, praised the team for extending a helping hand to their Overstrand colleagues to ensure the safety and a safe environment for the community of Pearly Beach.  In his appreciation message, he said: “The GRDM Firefighters did an excellent job in executing their tasks while we battled the blazes at Pearly Beach – we are thankful”.

The crew was led by Firefighters Heinrich Jordaan and Danro Frans.

Well done Team GRDM!

FLTR: GRDM Firefighters Danro Frans, Loraan Saayman, Jose Loff, Aiden Volkwyn and sitting, Heinrich Jordaan, who assisted the Overstrand Municipal Fire Services with the Pearly Beach fire.

2 February 2024 Media Release: GRDM Regional Fire Station Unveiled

Media Release: GRDM Regional Fire Station Unveiled

For Immediate Release
2 February 2024

Today, 2 February 2024, is a significant milestone achieved by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) with the grand opening of its first state-of-the-art fire station. This modern facility is strategically located at the end of Pearl Street in the Tamsui Industrial area of George.

The GRDM regional fire station was made possible with the GRDM Council support, as well as support from George Municipality who donated a property of 5 877m2 in size and waived service fees. On top of this, the Western Cape Government assisted the GRDM with a R3 million shortfall.

According to Deon Stoffels, GRDM Fire Chief: “Building construction costs amount to R 11 800 000, and Consulting Engineering Services amount to just over R 1 300,000”.

“The regional fire station is ideally located in the heart of the Garden Route district, extending its protective arms westward to the Hessequa municipal area and eastward to the Bitou and Knysna municipalities, almost equally, areas both prone to high-risk fires,” said Stoffels.

With its central location, quick access to N2, and 24-hour operations, the facility will ensure rapid responses to emergencies, especially given its proximity to the coastal areas that are still overgrown with invasive alien plant species, as well as mountainous terrain. This is the biggest fire station in the district.

The journey to this day has not been without challenges. The GRDM never before owned its own fire station since its establishment in 1987. Over the years, GRDM Fire Services leased various premises while servicing the district as a whole. Today’s grand opening ceremony was not just about the physical structure, but a celebration of homecoming for firefighters, who have occupied their last temporary home for more than 14 years.  These firefighters now have a permanent residence they can call ‘home’, an advanced facility aligned to the required National Building Regulations and Standards.

Among the participants attending the grand opening were Minister Anton Bredell, the Western Cape Provincial Minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mayors, Municipal Managers, Chief Fire Officers, Khubeka Construction CC representatives, the Consulting Engineer, Kantey and Templer (Pty) Ltd representatives, and stakeholders involved in integrated fire management across the District. Also in attendance were representatives of the Western Cape Department of Local Government (WCDLG) Disaster Management and Fire & Rescue Services Directorate, GRDM officials as well as the 50 firefighters from the GRDM. Members of the media (SABC, Eden FM and George Herald), also attended the event, as well as the well-known social media influencer, Nikki du Toit (Lekker Nikki).

GRDM Portfolio Councillor Cobus Meiring opened the prestigious event, welcoming dignitaries, guests and firefighters, followed by Pastor Keith Elliot, from George Victory Church, who encouraged firefighters with Proverbs 8 verse 13, inspiring everyone present.

A very proud but humble GRDM Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu delivered a brief, yet thorough background around the journey fire services has come from until where they are today in opening the regional fire station.

Stratu referred to the devastating Knysna wildfires which occurred in 2017 as one of the driving forces behind an inter-governmental push to co-fund a fire station that serves the region as a whole. Throughout his speech, he detailed the processes, reasons, and steps followed in determining the location of the fire facility, as well as the budget provision and support provided by the Western Cape Provincial government.

“It has been a wonderful experience for all of us, the firefighters, officials, councillors and everyone else, to say that we want to work together to deliver this facility for the people of the Garden Route region, for all the municipalities that will benefit from it, and for us to assist our provincial colleagues in need,” said Stratu.

Municipal Manager Stratu acknowledged some colleagues who made a significant contribution to this project, “One of the key pioneers in this facility and leader in the sector, Freddy Thaver, the former Fire Chief, who has passed on, and who was very fond and passionate about this project.” He asked everyone present to rise for a moment of silence to pay respect to the late Thaver.  Mr Stratu also recognised Clive Africa who was unable to attend the event. To honour Africa’s contribution, he asked all present to give him a round of applause for his role at the beginning of the project and also for pushing for it to become a reality.

Ettiene Du Toit, Deputy Director of Disaster Management & Fire & Rescue Services, presented on Capacity Grants and the financial assistance provided to the project by his department. “It was a privilege to be a part of this project. We often see projects that fail to materialize, but this shows what is possible when provincial and local governments work together.”

In his address, Nelius Agenbag, Principal Agent of Engineering Consultants: Kantey & Templer (Pty) Ltd, expressed gratitude to the GRDM for allowing them to be a part of the project, as well as for the by-in and support given to the design and construction teams. He extended a special word of thanks to Fire Chief Deon Stoffels for his involvement in the project, for always representing his firemen, and for ‘transferring the heart of a fireman’ into the project. “The successful implementation of a project like this depends on teamwork. Everyone involved, every party contributed to the project and without teamwork, a project like this would not have been completed.”

 

On behalf of George Municipality, Cllr Raybin Figland, Deputy Mayor said, “This is a collective accomplishment for every single municipality in the Garden Route District, and we are proud to be a part of the opening of this facility”.

Figland added:” In allocating this land to GRDM, George Municipality knew there was indeed a need for such a facility; we did this to ensure that our services are effective and that we are responsive to the needs of our community. In doing so, we gained the knowledge we gained from the devastating George and Knysna fires nearly seven years ago.  We made a commitment to our residents that we will strive to do all we can in the face of disaster and with facilities such as this one, we will deliver on our commitments to our residence.”  He concluded by saying, “When a decision had to be made regarding the donation of the property for the fire station, it was an easy decision for our council since there was no debate”.

Alderman Memory Booysen, GRDM Executive Mayor said: “When you put egos, personalities, the argument of powers and functions, aside – this is what you get. We put everything aside for one purpose and that purpose was for this facility to be erected and here we are today. This is an indication of when different spheres of government come together and when a district and local municipality comes together.”

He continued by saying, “It is not that we wanted to be smart to call it the Garden Route District Municipality’s Regional Fire Station, it was by choice, a deliberate decision. All the speakers refer to the fact that it is not a Garden Route facility, but it belongs to eight municipalities in total.  This facility is here to protect the entire Garden Route – Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland. This is an indication that when we work together as a government, we know no boundaries.”

In his keynote address, the Western Cape Provincial Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, said, “This is your facility. We are currently facing a major problem with vandalism. Vandalism of infrastructure. If you vandalise infrastructure, you destroy your children’s future.” He encouraged people to take ownership of the facility and to protect it, because more of these facilities are needed.

MEC Bredell delivered a brief overview of the fires currently burning in the Western Cape and thanked the fire service present for sending teams and resources to assist. He continued by congratulating the GRDM Fire Service Team and said, Let’s keep building and working together. Going forward, climate change is going to be a big issue for us all in administration and government. When budget time comes around, we tend to ignore it. We must invest in Disaster Management over time and build a system because we will need the system in the future.”

In conclusion, Bredell said: “The heart and soul of this building is mostly that side of the audience,” when he referred to the firefighters of GRDM. “You bring passion, love and competence to this facility and the communities you serve. On behalf of the Provincial Government, I want to thank you. You have saved lives throughout the year, if we call on you, you are always there. I want to thank you for your dedication and commitment – let us keep on.” Adding to these words, Bredell further said: And from the provincial side, I want to commit that I will keep on fighting for the right budget, so that we can train you and give you the rightful training and rightful equipment, to do your job.”

GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk, delivered the closing remarks and vote of thanks. During his message he thanked internal, as well as external stakeholders. He wrapped up his thank yous by saying “Every official of the GRDM sitting here, certainly, you had a contribution somewhere along the course of this project – thank you very much – you all can be proud of what stands in front of you”.

A special thank you needs to be extended to the gracious sponsors who donated various items to the Fire and Rescue Services of GRDM, these include Outeniqua Palms, Grown Green Organics, Fabric World, Curtains Up, Wild Farm Backpackers Wilderness, and Savannah Helicopters.

Featured Image Caption: Alderman Memory Booysen, GRDM-Executive Mayor cuts a ribbon to mark the official opening of the Garden Route District Municipality Regional Fire Station.

 

Did you know:   

The newly constructed double-storey fire station adheres to its design specifications and encompasses various essential components to facilitate efficient firefighting operations:

The following are some of the features:

Administrative Building: This section will accommodate four senior fire officers and an administrative clerk, providing a centralised hub for coordination and management.

Leisure Area: Designed for the well-being of the 24 George-based firefighters on duty, this space recognises the importance of downtime and relaxation for a team working in demanding conditions.

Kitchen Facilities: For both administrative and operational firefighters use.

Ablution Facilities: Separate facilities for administrative and operational firefighters promote hygiene and well-being.

Board Room: A dedicated space for meetings and briefings enhances communication, collaboration and strategic planning among firefighting personnel.

Gym Room: Recognizing the physical demands of firefighting, the gym will provide a space for fitness and wellness activities.

Lecture Room: Equipped for training and educational purposes, this room supports continuous learning and skill development.

Double Apparatus Bays: Four double bays safely accommodate the necessary firefighting vehicles, ensuring quick and efficient response times.

Storage Rooms and Locker Room: Essential for storing equipment and providing secure spaces for personal belongings.

Wash Bay: A separate facility for washing firefighting vehicles and equipment ensures cleanliness, maintenance and readiness for future emergencies.

Industrial Containers: The fire station premises will house 14 industrial containers for storage of equipment and supplies as well as for training purposes, showcasing a commitment to preparedness and ongoing training initiatives.

Specialist Wildland Ground Firefighting Crew Building: This secondary building will host a specialist crew of 22 personnel daily, underscoring the importance of specialized teams for addressing unique challenges, such as those of wildfires.

The location of the station will naturally also reinforce response times too especially in coastal high-risk areas.

-END-

15 November 2023 Media Release: Basic Wildland Firefighting training rolled out to farms

Media Release: Basic Wildland Firefighting training rolled out to farms


For immediate release

15 November 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire and Rescue Services last week, on 09 November 2023 presented Basic Wildland Firefighting training to farmers and farmworkers from the Heidelberg region at the Les Huguenots Farm.

GRDM Firefighters present a Basic Wildland Firefighting course to farmers and farmworkers from the Heidelberg region.

A Basic Wildland Firefighting course is a critical training program that equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to combat wildfires and veldfires in its incipient stage. This course typically covers topics such as fire behaviour, safety protocols, equipment usage, and teamwork. The training presented to the group will allow them to effectively handle veldfires and to protect lives and infrastructure.

It is essential for rural communities and farmers to be equipped with basic knowledge, and especially in terms of safety around veld- and wildfires. Similar training is scheduled for more areas in the Hessequa and Mossel Bay municipal areas, set to take place in the last week of November 2023.

The basic course was facilitated by Daniel Dippenaar, GRDM Station Officer: Fire Safety and Training, with the assistance of GRDM Riversdale based Firefighter, Chris Gerber.

FIRE SAFETY AROUND YOUR HOME

  1. Create a clear zone and / or defendable space around your house and infrastructure, regularly clean flammable vegetation around house.
  2. Regularly remove leaves and other plant matter from gutters.
  3. Make sure firefighters can access your home and other infrastructure. Cut away trees and branches along your access route which do not allow fire truck access.
  4. Do not make any fires in unpermitted areas.
  5. Do not leave braai fires unattended or discard ash or coals in grass or vegetation.
  6. Please be alert to daily weather warnings, which will be distributed and shared on the local authorities’ communication channels.
  7. Ensure that your house is numbered, or else in case of an emergency, first responders might not be aware of where assistance is required.

ENDS

6 October 2023 Media Release: A ‘first of its kind for Garden Route District Municipality’ – Pilot Programme for Occupational Firefighter Training

Media Release: A ‘first of its kind for Garden Route District Municipality’ – Pilot Programme for Occupational Firefighter Training

For immediate release
6 October 2023

After receiving accreditation to be a Skills Development Provider from the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO) in the latter part of 2022, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) officially kicked off its pilot Occupational Firefighter Training programme to 24 aspiring firefighters.

The programme recently commenced at the Municipality’s Calitzdorp Hot Springs Resort, 25km from Calitzdorp, and will conclude in June 2024.

This is a milestone for the GRDM. Key stakeholder, the QCTO, plays a significant role in promoting and supporting quality occupational training and development in South Africa, ultimately contributing to a skilled and productive workforce.  The main aim of QCTO is to ensure that occupational training and qualifications, in this case the one relating to firefighting, is relevant to industry needs and align with national standards.

The participants who are currently undergoing the training programme represent all seven (7) municipal areas of the GRDM, including Bitou, Knysna, George, Oudtshoorn, Mossel Bay, Kannaland and Hessequa Municipal areas.

The programme comprises of knowledge modules, practical modules as well as a workplace-based component where students are required to apply the knowledge and practical skills. The skills and knowledge are applied through relevant assignments and ultimately aid them in reaching the required exit level outcomes.

GRDM’s lead facilitator is Platoon Commander Brian Afrikander, supported by a Skills Mecca Administrator.

At this stage, the training programme is going well and as per schedule.

ENDS

Feature Photo: GRDM’s Lead Facilitator and Platoon Commander, Brian Afrikander (11th from right), with participants of the pilot Occupational Firefighter Training programme