The City’s latest batch of seasonal firefighters are receiving the necessary training before they are set to be deployed in teams to various fire stations around the metropole to assist with the combating of vegetation fires over the warmer months.
Seasonal firefighters were introduced as an EPWP programme in early 2009 to fund the appointment of 40 seasonal firefighters.
The programme has grown since then to more than 100 seasonals to increase resources and minimise the risk to lives and property, particularly where vegetation and mountain fires threaten the urban edge.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said: “Our city has very different firefighting needs to many others, literally because of the lay of the land, and the seasonal firefighter concept has been an enormous help to overcome that challenge. They perform a vital role alongside our permanent staff to safeguard lives and property, but their presence also means that we have more resources to deal with the other demands on the fire service, like residential fires and special service calls such as motor vehicle accidents.”
On average, more than two-thirds of fires dealt with by the City’s Fire and Rescue Service each year are categorised as vegetation fires. Most of these occur over the warmer months from December to April.
The training course started on Monday November 11 with induction and orientation, and the issuing of personal protective equipment.
All staff will undergo four weeks of theoretical, practical and physical training during the Basic Wildland Firefighting Course.