Newsletter Dec 2012
The fire season has officially started. For the reason we have decided to start the newsletter with the most important information.
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TIPS ON FIRE PREPAREDNESS AND PREVENTION (VELD AND FOREST FIRES):
- Make sure you have all the necessary emergency contact numbers available (local municipal fire service, next door neighbours, estate managers, farm managers, labourers etc.)
- When a fire or and smoke has been spotted immediately contact your local municipal fire services (provide them with as much a possible information regarding the position, size, wind direction, access roads, identifiable reference points etc.). Always contact your local municipal fire service first
- With a fire on your property the same procedure must be followed and thereafter you must inform your next door neighbour. If you are part of a Fire Management Unit (FMU) notify your FMU representative who will then make contact with the SCFPA Regional Manager (RM) who is responsible for that specific area. The SCFPA RM will then make contact with the local and or district municipality fire services and FMU representative to offer assistance
- Should you have the necessary equipment and personnel available proceed to fight the fire
- As soon as the local fire services arrive on the scene they will take command of the fire
- Remember that safety of your personnel/labourers comes first
- Check your fire fighting equipment and ensure it is in good working order
- If possible do simulation training with your personnel/ labourers and family members
- Ensure that you family, friends and labourers know and understand your emergency procedures for your property (how to react, emergency escape routes etc.)
- Do not use any mechanical tools in the veld when the Fire Danger Rating is high or extreme
- No open fires. Fires only to be made at designated fire places
- Set out rules for the people (labourers, visitors and residents) on your property regarding fire safety (no smoking or open fires in the veld)
- Landowners may not burn fire breaks or carry out controlled burns without permits or when the Fire Danger Rating is high. Special burning permits will be issued over the high fire season, but this will only be done thru coordination/consultation between the local and district fire services, conservation organisations (Cape Nature, SANPARKS) and the SCFPA. Some veld sometimes must be burned during warm weather to ensure the correct outcome regarding veld management
- Contact your local municipal fire services to enquire what the daily fire danger rating is for that specific day. Remember that the rating change from day to day depending on the current weather and forecasted weather conditions.
REDUCING DISASTER RISK FROM WILDLAND FIRE HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH CLIMATE CHANGE IN SOUTH AFRICA – GEF FYNBOS FIRE PROJECT
In the previous newsletter (6th edition) we introduced you to the FynbosFire project. Should you require the information again you are more than welcome to request the previous newsletter to be send to you. In short the project is aimed at developing sustainable interventions to radically reform the approach to manage wild land/veld fire and to implement strategies critical to good practice.
Please visit the FynbosFire website for more information: www.fynbosfire.org.za
Since the inception of the project two extension officers were appointed by the project to assist the SCFPA. They have been placed under the guidance and management of the two SCFPA Regional Managers (Charl Wade – Western Region and Dirk Smit – Eastern Region).
On 11 December 2012 the FynbosFire project will be holding roundtable discussions with various role-players regarding the Wildfire Management in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). The WUI is an issue that is currently not clearly understood and most of the times not covered by local municipalities and or provincial government laws and bylaws.
Feedback will be given via the next newsletter.
NEWS ON THE SCFPA – WOF TEAMS
An additional 22 fire fighter team has been established in The Crags area and is stationed at the Kurland Satellite Fire Station. All the fire fighters were recruited from the local Kurland Village. Just as the other WoF teams which have been allocated to the SCFPA (Goudveld and Riversdale) they have done their basic and advanced fire fighting training. In addition to this they have also received HELI-TECK training. This means that a small team can be transported with a helicopter to a "hotspot" to do a fast/initial attack on a fire or and to be transported to an area which is difficult to access on foot or by vehicle. Special thanks must go to Bitou Municipality for providing to us the satellite fire station at Kurland to utilize as the base station for the fire fighting team. Mr Hedley Venter (Chief Fire Officer) from the Bitou Fire Services also assisted with the above arrangements.
Currently the WoF teams allocated to the SCFPA compliments the current fire fighting services within the Southern Cape and consist of the following if fully staffed:
- Goudveld Fire Base: 44 fire fighters (2 x 22 man teams)
- Riversdale Fire Base: 44 fire fighters (2 x 22 man teams)
- The Grags Fire Base: 22 fire fighters (1 x 22 man team)
The SCFPA constantly facilitate processes whereby additional teams can be placed at strategic places/high risk areas to be of assistance to our members and the local municipalities and Eden District Municipality fire services.
NEWS ON THE SCFPA – WOF TEAMS – NEWLY ESTABLISHED CRAGS FIRE BASE
Working on Fire (WoF) trains the fire fighters and supply them with personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as the necessary hand tools.
The WoF program also ensures that the fire fighters receive remuneration on a monthly basis. The SCFPA then become the "base partner" and ensure that the team has a base to "operate" from. The SCFPA also provide base managers who are responsible to effectively manage the fire fighting teams and also act as a link between WoF and the SCFPA regarding daily administrative duties (fitness reports, daily and monthly reports). Many hours and work has been done by the SCFPA to facilitate the placement of these teams.
AWARENESS PROJECTS AND TRAINING
Almost all of the FMU fire awareness boards have been put up. Thanks to the FMU representatives who have in their own time made the effort to erect these boards. In conjunction with some of our members awareness boards were made to place alongside the N2 route in the Tsitsikamma area. These boards will create awareness amongst people traveling into the Eden District from the east as well as people travelling from the west into the Cacadu District (Eastern Cape). More detail and photos of these boards will be provided via the next newsletters.
Recently the newly established Crags Fire Base did an awareness project at The Crags Primary School. The pupils were made aware of the dangers of veld and forest fires. The other SCFPA fire bases (Goudveld and Riversdale) consistently do awareness and preventative work in and around the local communities regarding fire prevention.
On the 4th of November 2012 Eden District Municipality provided training to +- 40 local farmworkers, from the Uniondale area (De Hoop FMU, Avontuur FMU and Hartebeesrivier FMU). A basic fire fighting course, specially designed for this purpose was compiled by the Eden District Municipality Fire Chief, Mr Lester Smith. On behalf of our members we would like to thank Chief Fire Officer Lester Smith, Wayne Young (Uniondale Fire Services) and Bermon Verster ( Avontuur FMU representative) for their effort and commitment to make this training available to our member’s personnel. The training was a great success and we hope that in the future we can in co-operation with different role players present this training to our other FMU’s.
NEW AREAS COVERED BY THE SCFPA
On request of various landowners the SCFPA has started doing work in the following areas:
- Baviaanskloof (Eden District and Cacadu District)
- Tsitsikamma (Cacadu District)
- Langkloof – Misgund area (Cacadu District) Eastern Cape
The SCFPA would like to thank Cacadu District Municipality for providing us the opportunity to assist these members and landowners.
During the coming year (2013) the newly appointed extension officers will assist the SCFPA to get the landowners in the above mentioned and current areas actively involved with Integrated Fire Management.
NEW SCFPA APPOINTMENTS
An administrative assistant, Corrine Terblanhce, was appointed to help with the administrative duties (new membership applications, capturing information on the SCFPA database and sending out general information to our members).
- Danie Grabe was appointed as the extension officer in the Eastern Region.
- Tommy Eckhly was appointed as the extension officer in the Western Region.
Johnathan Bezuidnhout was appointed as the base manager for The Crags Fire Base. Johnathan was one of the first fire fighters that were recruited for the Goudveld Fire Base. He then moved up in the WoF programme and became a Crew Leader. The SCFPA saw the opportunity to employ him as a Base Manager.
Welcome to all of the above mentioned personnel.
It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Stefanie Hatting (head of administration) has resigned. We wish Stefanie and her husband all the best in their new endeavour. They will be leaving South Africa at the end of the year to go and work on a big super yacht.
Una Hendricks has been appointed to fill this post and we also want to welcome her to the team.
To all SCFPA members, SCFPA personnel, SCFPA Executive Committee and partners (Municipal and District Municipal fire services personnel, Cape Nature, SANParks, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, Working on Fire, GEF FynbosFire Project, PG Bison and Cape Pine) we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and safe festive season.
Please visit us at:
facebook page: "Southern Cape Fire Protection Association"
For any further information please feel free to contact:
Dirk Smit Charl Wade Paul Gerber
Knysna Manager Riversdale Manager Chairman
Eastern Region Western Region Cell: 082 805 5840
Cell: 072 785 2742 Cell: 079 485 5320
Southern Cape Fire Protection Association