Volunteers have to undergo training
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.