Vol­un­teers have to un­dergo train­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WIN­TER is train­ing sea­son for Vol­un­teer Wild­fire Ser­vices ac­tive fire­fight­ers and new re­cruits, who all have to par­tic­i­pate in a min­i­mum of five train­ing ses­sions.

Each sea­son, ev­ery­one has to re-qual­ify and pass a fit­ness eval­u­a­tion. The eval­u­a­tion lev­els vary, with a harder test for fire­fight­ers than for for drivers, for ex­am­ple. Hikes also form part of the train­ing.

New re­cruits at­tend a week­end fire the­ory course – the Ba­sic Wild­fire Course – and an ori­en­ta­tion ses­sion.

They also have to go on at least two of­fi­cial hikes, which im­proves their fit­ness lev­els. They also learn night and day nav­i­ga­tion, map use, cor­rect com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fire the­ory.

The re­cruits are re­quired to at­tend at least an­other two train­ing ses­sions dur­ing which they learn about work­ing with pumps and hoses; how to op­er­ate a GPS; fire be­hav­iour and the­ory, as well as safety and first aid, ex­plained New­lands VWS fire­fighter Louise Kee­gan.

At Jonker­shoek Vol­un­teer Wild­fire Ser­vices, there are 99 ac­tive qual­i­fied vol­un­teers, of whom 32 are women. This year they re­cruited 39 new mem­bers who have qual­i­fied and are ready to join the ground crews for this fire sea­son.

There are over 100 vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers at­tached to the New­lands sta­tion.

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