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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.


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.



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.


  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.


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.


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

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


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.