Category: <span>Fire Fighting</span>

14 September 2023 Media Release: GRDM Fire Services Public Education Interventions continue

Media Release: GRDM Fire Services Public Education Interventions continue

For immediate release
14 September 2023

The GRDM Fire Services visited various primary schools within our district over the months of August and September 2023.

Fire safety awareness and education interventions facilitated at schools play a crucial role in ensuring that whilst learners are in the learning environment, they are also exposed to information and educated on Fire Safety prevention at school, at home and outside in the environment.

Educators are also learning with the students. They all become aware of prevention and what actions to take within their immediate environment and share the message with family and friends at home. It is a three-step process, which includes Awareness, Prevention and how to deal with fire ignition and/or occurrence and/or how to escape and protect themselves in any specific situation, as well as alerting  the Fire Brigade Services about the incident.

Prioritising schools and in particular Primary Schools, is viewed as the most effective target audience in this regard.

Schools that were visited are as follows;

  • Avontuur Primary & Haarlem Primary – 03 August 2023
  • Herold Primary  – 10 August 2023
  • Geelhoutboom Primary – 29 August 2023
  • Hoogekraal Primary – 30 August 2023
  • Franken Primary – 5 September 2023
  • Diepkloof Primary – 7 September 2023

Some of the key learnings that students gained from fire safety education include:

Understanding Fire Basics:

  • The basic science of fire, including how it starts, spreads, and the elements necessary for combustion.

Unwanted Fire Prevention:

  • Common causes of fires, such as electrical faults, open flames, and flammable materials.
  • The importance of fire prevention measures, including proper storage of flammable materials, not overloading electrical outlets, and safe handling of ignition sources such as candles, stoves, etc., other appliances, e.g., gas heaters, electric heaters, leaving candles and cooking unattended.

Cautions with Matches and Lighters:

  • Not to play with matches or lighters and to immediately hand over to an adult if they find them.
  • Learning to recognise the early signs of a fire, such as the smell of smoke or the sound of a smoke detector.
  • Vegetation Fires: leaving ‘outside’ fires unattended that has the potential of starting vegetation fires, the dangers of starting vegetation fires, as well as how to make and confine fires in designated areas.

Dangers of Smoke(Carbon Monoxide Awareness)

  • The dangers of smoke, carbon monoxide inhalation, and in particular the dangers of ‘boma’ fires within the home.

Fire Safety Equipment:

  • Familiarisation with fire safety equipment like fire extinguishers, fire blankets and smoke alarms, as well as other measures that can be used, i.e., sand.
  • How to use a fire extinguisher properly and understanding its limitations.
  • Actions to take: Stop, Drop, and Roll.
  • Teaching the “stop, drop, and roll” technique in case of clothing catching fire.

Calling of Emergency number:

  • How to call emergency services in their immediate areas to report a fire.
  • Emphasising the importance of providing accurate information and remaining calm during the call and moving to designated safe places.

Fire safety education in schools not only imparts important life-saving knowledge but also instils a sense of responsibility and preparedness in learners and educators alike. It empowers them to take correct action in the event of a fire and to promote fire safe practices within their immediate communities.

Information supplied: Heinrich Leslie, GRDM Acting  Station Officer: Fire Services

ENDS

28 July 2023 Media Release: GRDM Firefighters achieve great results at the Dräger SA Fire Combat and Rescue Challenge

GRDM Firefighters achieve great results at the Dräger SA Fire Combat and Rescue Challenge

For Immediate release
28 July 2023

Yesterday, 27 July 2023, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire & Rescue Services firefighters participated in the Dräger SA Fire Combat and Rescue Challenge. The competition was held in Johannesburg.

This is the third year that Dräger hosted the Combat Challenge, where firefighters are tested displaying their skills and fitness while getting hands-on experience with the latest firefighting equipment and technology available.

The team members who participated in the challenge include: Emile Conrad (Senior Firefighter), Heinrich Leslie (Platoon Commander), Petrus Jordaan (Firefighter), Kevin Lee Gericke (Senior Firefighter) and Branville Abrahams (Senior Firefighter).

In the Team Relay events, the GRDM Fire & Rescue Services team excelled, securing the top position in the Combat Challenge Overall and Fire Fighter CrossFit Event Overall categories. Their performance in the MTG Rescue Operations Course earned them a second place. The Overall Relay Results show that the team displayed their impressive capabilities, securing an impressive second place.

Emile Conrad dominated multiple categories. He won the Overalls Categories, including the Combat Challenge Overall and Fire Fighter CrossFit Challenge Overall, where he earned two first-place finishes. Conrad also won the Overall Age Category (35 – 40), securing his position as the top performer with a first-place finish in the Overall Results.

Heinrich Leslie secured second places in the Age Category 30 – 35 Overalls and the Fire Fighting CrossFit Events Overalls.

Petrus Jordaan, achieved a first-place finish in the Age Category 45 – 49 Overalls, adding to the teams overall success. The team is congratulated for representing GRDM with passion and pride.

The main event on the calendar is yet to come with the South African Toughest Firefighter Alive competition taking place in Mossel Bay which will again be hosted by the Mossel Bay Municipality over the weekend of 05 – 07 October 2023.

Many local firefighters will be in action, competing with the country’s best. GRDM hopes to see you there!

Feature Image: GRDM Fire & Rescue Service Firefighters embracing their winning medals at the Dräger SA Fire Combat and Rescue Challenge

ENDS

 

 

21 July 2023 Media Release: Home and Veld Fire Safety education rolled out to agricultural workers

Media Release: Home and Veld Fire Safety education rolled out to agricultural workers

For Immediate Release
21 July 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire and Rescue Services, last week, held a ‘Fire In-and-Around the Home, Safety Awareness session at the Geelhoutboomberg Village and Avocado Farm near Blanco, George. “Firefighters focused on educating workers through practical demonstrations related to home and veld fire safety,” said Heinrich Leslie, GRDM Acting Station Officer.

“There were more than 20 enthusiastic agricultural workers in attendance and the event proved to be a valuable learning experience for all.”

Leslie says the importance of fire awareness and safety education continues throughout the year, especially for remote workers who frequently encounter potential fire hazards.

Several critical topics were covered during the session, which included:

  • Cooking and fire safety;
  • Electrical system maintenance: Emphasing the regular inspection and upkeep of electrical systems and equipment to prevent electrical fires;
  • Handling flammable materials: Educating workers on safe practices when dealing with fuels and chemicals;
  • Vegetation clearance: Stressing the importance of clearing vegetation around living spaces, storages, and barns to reduce fire risks;
  • Proper fire equipment handling: Equipping workers with knowledge on handling fire safety equipment and responding to emergencies;
  • Regular maintenance of equipment: Encouraging routine maintenance of equipment, gas container connections and installations, gas stoves, heating systems, and other devices to prevent fore incidents;
  • Safety around candles and heating appliances: Raising awareness about potential fire hazards relating to candles and heating appliances;
  • Load shedding considerations: Educating workers on safely switching off appliances during load shedding periods;
  • Sources of ignition: Identifying potential ignition sources such as smoking, welding, or ploughing on hot days.

The workers actively participated in the educational activities, demonstrating enthusiasm and excitement for the knowledge gained.

By empowering workers with knowledge about fire safety, the GRDM Fire and Rescue Services created a safer working environment. “We try our best to create a culture of preparedness and responsible fire safety practices when we do awareness sessions,” said Leslie.

Feature image: Agricultural workers with firefighters from Garden Route District Municipality.


GRDM Brand- en Reddingsdienste hou ‘n suksesvolle brandveiligheidsbewusmakingsessie

Die Garden Route Distriksmunisipaliteit (GRDM) Brand- en Reddingsdienste het onlangs ‘n ‘Brand In-en-Om die Huis’ Veiligheidsbewusmakingsessie by die Geelhoutboomberg en Avokadoplaas naby Blanco, George, gehou. Die geleentheid het gefokus op die opvoeding van meer as 20 landbouwerkers deur praktiese demonstrasies wat verband hou met huis- en veldbrandveiligheid.

Heinrich Leslie, waarnemende stasiebeampte van GRDM, het sy tevredenheid met die sessie uitgespreek en gesê: “Die geleentheid was ‘n waardevolle leerervaring vir almal.” Met die klem op die belangrikheid van brandbewustheid en veiligheidsopvoeding, het Leslie die belangrikheid van deurlopende opleiding beklemtoon, veral vir afgeleë werkers wat gereeld potensiële brandgevare teëkom.

Tydens die sessie is verskeie kritieke onderwerpe gedek, insluitend kook- en brandveiligheid, behoorlike elektriese stelsel instandhouding, hantering van vlambare materiale, plantegroei opruiming en die korrekte hantering van brandveiligheidstoerusting. Werkers is ook opgevoed oor veiligheid rondom kerse en verwarmingstoestelle, beurtkrag-oorwegings ens.

Die entoesiastiese deelname van die werkers het hul gretigheid gewys om verantwoordelike brandveiligheidspraktyke te leer en te implementeer.

19 July 2023 Media Release: Garden Route DM rolls out various activities before and on Mandela Day

Media Release: Garden Route DM rolls out various activities before and on Mandela Day

For Immediate Release
19 July 2023

While the world celebrates the life of an icon, the late President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, employees of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) also followed his example to reach out to vulnerable community members throughout the region.

GRDM kicked off their activities on 17 July by hosting a pre-Madiba Day blood donation drive at its head office in George in collaboration with the Western Cape Blood Service. The GRDM also invited the public to donate blood, which resulted in just over 50 blood donations being made.


The Oudtshoorn Municipal Health Office donated nutritious and delicious ‘food socks’ to two families in the Buffelsdrift rural area of Oudtshoorn. Food socks contain pasta, rice, flavourings, stock powders, herbs, spices, dehydrated vegetables, pulses, beans, and soy products. GRDM officials bought the socks. The donation will provide food for eight beneficiaries for a week. The two families extended their appreciation to the GRDM officials for providing them with food.

The Oudtshoorn Municipal Health Office donated ‘food socks’ to families in Buffelsdrift.


Planning and Economic Development Department officials, comprised of the EPWP, Tourism and Local Economic Development, and Human Settlements sections, took Madiba Day activities to a new level when they rolled out the following activities at Kusile Baby Care in Thembalethu. In the morning, they divided themselves into different groups. The first group painted the outside walls of the school building with a primer. After that, others begin painting the building with a beautiful topcoat colour. Other officials, who are much more handy with a hammer and nails, installed PVC ceilings. Some of the female colleagues spent time reading and feeding toddlers and newborns. While others prepared a ‘braai’ lunch for the children and their educators. The daycare center also received a coat from officials.
GRDM Planning and Economic Development officials installing PVC ceilings and feeding toddlers at Kusile Baby Care in Thembalethu.

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) of Garden Route District Municipality’s Wilderness region celebrated Mandela Day with 60 children from Klipdrift Primary School. The EHPs painted a classroom and supplied colourful tires to improve the playground area. EHPs also shared slices of cake and snack parcels with each child, while they also played games and shared the importance of giving back to others.
EHP officials of GRDM shared cake with children from Klipdrift Primary School and improved their playground.

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Firefighters proved that they can do more than fight wildfires and protect communities. They made sandwiches and distributed them with cool drinks to homeless people in George’s Shoprite parking lot.

GRDM Firefighters sharing sandwiches and cool drinks with homeless people in George.


Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Office of the Municipal Manager, donated 51 pairs of shoes and funds to Mzoxolo Primary School. The shoe donations sprout from the Walk a Child to School campaign and included more staff donations too. The school is already collecting small donations from learners on Fridays to buy shoes for those who are in need. Principal Raymond Eagan thanked the GRDM for the shoe donations and funding. He said: “Our school is home to 1554 bright minds and 42 dedicated teachers.” Learners are mainly from Borchards, Thembalethu, Maraiskamp, Parkdene, and Lawaaikamp. The Principal also said the school’s name, Mzoxola, means “a beacon for peace,” and it was established in 1994 by Naledi Pandor.

Officials of the Office of the Municipal Manager GRDM donated 51 pair of shoes and funds to Mzoxolo Primary School in Lawaaikamp.

ENDS

20 June 2023 Media Release: 8 000 Hectares more veld and mountain fires burned over the past 12-months

Media Release: 8 000 Hectares more veld and mountain fires burned over the past 12-months

20 June 2023

Throughout the past municipal calendar year, spanning from July 2022 to June 2023, the Garden Route district, including Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn, and Kannaland, has witnessed several wildfires. Deon Stoffels, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Chief Fire Officer, says a staggering 82 fires, including several wildfires, have ravaged the region since July 2022, leaving 23,848 hectares of land burned. Comparatively, although the previous year saw three additional wildfires between July 2021 and June 2022, the extent of the damage was slightly lower, with approximately 14,500 hectares consumed.

“It remains a priority for us to continue to address this concerning trend and prioritise fire management and prevention strategies to safeguard communities,” said Stoffels.

The major areas most affected by the past year’s wildfires included the Rooiberg Mountains in Van Wyksdorp, the Swartberg Mountains in Oudtshoorn, and Molenrivier (N9 South) in the George area. The primary cause of these wildfires was due to lightning strikes, which are typically prevalent during the January and February months.

As a wildfire blazed through the Molen River in January 2023, a thick blanket of smoke enveloped the air.

Stoffels said: “On one particular day, we experienced seven (7) lightning-induced wildfires”. He says firefighters swiftly responded to this critical situation by deploying rapid aerial firefighting techniques, successfully suppressing three of these fires. “We were able to suppress the remaining wildfires through a combination of ground and aerial firefighting.”

Deon also pointed to November 2022, when a significant fire outbreak occurred in the Hessequa municipal area. “This incident was triggered by a permitted fire that escalated beyond control.”

“During this time of the year, late October and November, the Hessequa area is prone to experience gusty and rapidly changing winds, which proved to be a challenge GRDM firefighters have since learned from.”

PROACTIVE MEASURES, EDUCATION AND RISK REDUCTION MEASURES

The top priority of GRDM’s Fire and Rescue Services Unit remains to implement proactive and preventative fire management strategies. Public education initiatives are central to this, which forms part of their risk reduction measures.

According to Stoffels, the Fire Danger Index, provided by the South African Weather Services, plays a crucial role in assessing risks and guiding planning and preparation efforts.

“We urge all landowners to consult with the Local and District Fire Services, as well as the Fire Protection Association, to obtain expert advice on reducing fire risks,” said Stoffels. “Adequate measures such as maintaining fire breaks, clearing alien vegetation, and ensuring safe prescribed burning practices are essential components of fire prevention.”

Regarding the implementation of Fire Breaks, the District is actively seeking funding to establish and maintain them on its properties. However, all Local Municipal Areas already have Fire Management Systems, including Permitted Burning Systems, aimed at reducing risks and supporting ecological and agricultural objectives.

GRDM places significant emphasis on enhancing its rapid response capabilities, including the deployment of aerial firefighting resources. This method has proven highly effective in dealing with remote and inaccessible wildfires. The measures prevent such incidents from escalating into large-scale and destructive events.

An important number to save: The emergency call centre of GRDM is linked to all the emergency call centres of the region and operates 24/7, 365 days a year – dial 044 805 5071 to report any fire incident.

Feature image caption: In November 2022, a devastating wildfire swept through the Spuithoek area, leaving a trail of destruction across dozens of hectares.

END

31 May 2023 Media Release: Little Crosses Pre-Primary School visits Garden Route District Municipality’s Fire Services

Little Crosses Pre-Primary School visits Garden Route District Municipality’s Fire Services

For Immediate release
31 May 2023

The Garden Route District Municipal Fire Services were visited by kids from the Little Crosses Pre-Primary School on 26 May 2023. The event, described as an enjoyable experience where both learners and teachers were made aware and informed of very important basic fire safety dos and don’ts.

Senior Firefighters Henrich Leslie (left) and Kervin-Lee Gericke (right), with the kids from Little Crosses Pre-Primary School during the visit.

Firefighters loved every moment of educating and entertaining the little stars who have shown much interest in their field of firefighting. A presentation was done that included all fire safety elements around the home, at school, as well as what to do when noticing a fire elsewhere. In a fun-filled approach, learners were also taught the relevant emergency contact numbers of the emergency services.

After their ‘class session’ they enjoyed a little lunch and looked forward to what was to follow.

The most exciting part of the program was when water was sprayed from the high-pressure hose, so that the kids could experience and get a feel of what a firefighter does daily. Adding to these, they spent moments inside the vehicles, took a ride, heard the sirens, and saw the flashy red lights.

These little ones had a blast and enjoyed the visit at the GRDM fire station.

Facilitator of the visit, GRDM Senior Firefighter, Kervin-Lee Gericke, indicated how he enjoyed empowering the Garden Route youth and leaders of tomorrow.

The teacher from Little Crosses Pre-Primary School who accompanied the kids, Deveney Fember, conveyed words of gratitude to the GRDM team and said: “We are thankful to you and your team for the effort put into the day and making the outing worthwhile”.

                                                                  ______________________________________

Little Crosses Kleuterskool besoek die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit se Brandweerdienste

Die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit se Brandweerdienste was op 26 Mei 2023 deur leerders van Little Crosses Kleuterskool besoek. Hierdie gebeurtenis, was beskryf as ‘n aangename ervaring waar beide leerders en onderwysers bewus gemaak is, asook ingelig is oor die mees belangrikste basiese brand veiligheidsmoets en moenies.

Brandbestryders het elke oomblik geniet waar hulle die klein sterretjies geleer en vermaak het omdat hulle groot belangstelling in die brandweerdienste veld getoon het. ‘n Voorlegging was gedoen wat verskeie onderwerpe ingesluit het, bv. alle brand veiligsheidselemente rondom die huis, by die skool, asook wat om te doen wanneer ‘n brand elders opgemerk word. In ‘n prettige benadering, was leerders ook die relevante noodkontaknommers van die nooddienste geleer.

Na hul “klas-sessie” het hule ‘n ligte middagete geniet en uitgesien na wat volgende beplan was.

Die mees opwindende deel van die program was toe daar water vanaf die hoëdruk slang gespuit was, sodat die leerders ‘n gevoel en ervaring kon kry – dit wat die brandbestryders op n daaglikse basis doen. Hierdie kleinspan het ook ure spandeer in brandbestrydingsvoertuie, was op ritte geneem, sirenes gehoor, asook die flitsende rooi ligte gesien.

Die kleintjies het lekker gekuier en die besoek na die GRDM Brandstasie tenvolle geniet.

Fasiliteerder van die besoek, GRDM Senior Brandweerman, Kevin-Lee Gericke, het aangedui hoe hy dit geniet om die Tuinroete jeug en leiers van môre te bemagtig.

Die onderwyser van Little Crosses Kleuterskool wie die leerders vergesel het op hul kuier, Deveney Fember, het woorde van dankbaarheid oorgedra aan die GRDM span en gesê: “Ons is dankbaar aan jou en jou span vir die moeite wat julle gedoen het om hierdie dag moontlik te maak, asook om die uitstappie die moeite werd te gemaak het”.

ENDS

12 May 2023 Media Release: Fire Awareness session done at the “Draadkar” Festival in Hoogekraal

Media Fire Awareness session done at the “Draadkar” Festival in Hoogekraal

For immediate release
12 May 2023

Hoogekraal Primary School, together with Outeniqualand Farmwatch, the Hoogekraal Community In Blue, the South African Police Service and the Community Police Forum on, 6 May 2023, held a “Draadkar” Festival near George. The Firefighters from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) presented a Fire Awareness and Education session to the community of Hoogekraal. As part of the session, the team explained and demonstrated the dangers of fires, how to prevent unwanted fires and how to respond to a fire that got ignited.

The activities were welcomed, as the firefighters used practical methods to ensure the community understood the topics that were presented to them.

It is envisaged that this initiative will become an annual event, whereby more community members and primary schools in the surrounding areas will be reached.

ENDS

12 May 2023 Media Release: Update 3 on the construction of the GRDM Fire Station

Media Release: Update 3 on the construction of the GRDM Fire Station

For Immediate Release
12 May 2023

The newly constructed Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire Station is progressing swiftly.

The backfilling of the administration building is completed. The apparatus bay columns have been erected and work has progressed to the first floor beams which are being erected currently. The project is on schedule and managed by Kubeka Construction and Kantey & Templer.

ENDS

Related article: 

https://www.gardenroute.gov.za/2022/11/04/4-november-2022-media-release-state-of-the-art-regional-fire-station-expected-by-june-2023/ 

17 March 2023 Media Release: Update 2 on the construction of the Garden Route District Municipality Fire Station

8 May 2023 Media Release: Garden Route District Firefighters participate in the International Firefighters Day event

Garden Route District Firefighters participate in the International Firefighters Day event

For Immediate Release
8 May 2023

On Thursday, the 4th of May, International Firefighters Day was commemorated and celebrated across the globe.

The Cape Winelands District Municipality Fire Services hosted an International Firefighters Day Event, inclusive of a vehicle parade, drill marches, equipment capability displays, demonstration of technical skills, a Firefighter fitness and skills competition, as well as a Firefighters ball.

Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Fire Services, including many other municipalities supported the event in making a success of the day by acknowledging the efforts of firefighters and volunteer firefighters, as well as remembering those who have died in the line of duty.

In the firefighter fitness and skills competition, GRDM team achieved a 4th place. The top achievers were as follows:

  • 1st place: Seavuna
  • 2nd place: Overstrand Municipality Fire & Rescue Services
  • 3rd place: Hessequa Municipality Fire & Rescue Services

Well done to the GRDM team and congratulations to the winners, as well as to the local team, Hessequa Municipality, with their achievement of 3rd place!

Feature Image: Garden Route District Firefighters (fltr), Emile Conrad, Grant Gericke, Jonathan van Vuuren, Branville Abrahams, Petrus Jordaan and Martino Jacobs, at the Cape Winelands International Firefighters Day event.

ENDS

 

27 March 2023 Media Release: Fire Emergency Evacuation Drill Training conducted at the Frail Care Centre

Media Release: Fire Emergency Evacuation Drill Training conducted at the Frail Care Centre

For immediate release
27 March 2023

Emergency Evacuation starts with any notification of fire or other emergency, including the activation of alarm (an installed fire protection system, which ensure that occupants of the building or premises are timeously notified) to which occupants are then required to evacuate as soon as possible; preferably in the safest and most orderly manner.

Firefighters from Garden Route District Municipality, with residents and staff of Lyttleton Frail Care Centre in George soon after the fire drill.

GRDM Fire Services were requested to assist the Lyttleton Frail Care Centre in George with training in this regard. The visit to the establishment took place on 22 March 2023. As part of the training, officials carried out a thorough size-up of the premises and inspected the building to ensure they acquired a proper assessment of all applicable elements. The GRDM team was warmly welcomed by the occupants and staff on their arrival and the elderly were brave enough to enjoy the little action facilitated by the GRDM team.

Lyttelton Frail Care Centre is a 24/7 establishment that accommodates 25 vulnerable occupants and 30 personnel (on and off basis).

“Awareness, Information and Education is the ultimate goal to ensure owners and occupants operate as safely and timeously upon the notification of fire, and how the process of Evacuation is conducted. Occupants are immediately made aware of the do’s and the don’ts in the case of fire occurrence and / or ignition within a building,” said Acting Station Officer: Fire & Safety and Training at Garden Route District Municipality’s Fire Services, Heinrich Leslie.

Manager of the Centre, Stefan du Toit, expressed his gratitude to the team and he indicated that they “will now be able to rectify and improve on what was discussed during the briefing”.  Adding to these words, Du Toit highlighted: “We are grateful that we could experience a fire drill and that the Garden Route District Fire Services Team made an effort to visit our facility in a friendly manner while at the same time equipping us with the necessary skills needed to be ready for any fire outbreaks at any time ”.

“The team of GRDM Fire Services, and especially the learner firefighters who were present also enjoyed and learned from the experience as well,” said Leslie.

Gallery: Firefighters from Garden Route District Municipality, with residents of the Lyttelton Frail Care Centre during the fire drill facilitated by the firefighting team.

ENDS