The Wilderness area is now being served by its own satellite fire station, which was officially opened on Friday, 17 September 2021.
Situated near the Caltex The Waves circle on the N2, the new station was built to serve the diverse fire and rescue needs of the area east of the Kaaimans River Bridge, which had until recently been addressed from the main fire station in the George CBD 14km away.
George Chief Fire Officer Neels Barnard said a satellite station in Wilderness had been a long-term goal of the department to cover the area’s fire and rescue risks more effectively. “We now have quick and easy access to the N2 for vehicle accidents and hazardous materials spills, the Wilderness beach and lakes for water incidents and rescues as well as significant fire risks such as fuel stations, hotels, dense vegetation and agricultural land.”
The Wilderness station is also the first in the southern Cape to be a double-storey facility with a fireman’s pole.
The 440sqm station comprises 348sqm bottom-floor space for vehicles and equipment and 92sqm above for staff quarters. It has three spaces for specialised vehicles including a major fire appliance, 4×4 off-road firefighting vehicle and a jetski, quadbike and rubber duck. The facility is manned around the clock by four firefighters.
“There are many advantages of having a fire station in an expanding and diverse community such as Wilderness and surrounds, including the much faster response times to road accidents and fires. Its location next to the Wilderness police station is ideal as there are several overlapping services and administration between the SAPS and municipal emergency services during and after an incident.
“The department is grateful to its Municipal Council for recognising the diverse fire and rescue needs that exist in the area and for supporting an ongoing programme to equip the Fire and Rescue department with specialised gear and facilities to continue protecting land and property.
“We also thank donors Peter Grindlay and Mikaila Hendrikz of Dotsure and Jenny Harding of Delightful Gardens for their contributions towards the interior design and beautifying of the Wilderness Fire Station,” said Mr Barnard.
At the official opening George Executive Mayor Alderman Leon van Wyk commended Mr Barnard and his department for their pursuit of excellence. “I am very proud of their hard work – their persistence in continuance expansion of capacity will pay off for decades to come,” said Ald van Wyk.
Wilderness is the municipality’s third satellite station in addition to Thembalethu and Uniondale.
On 8th September, the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service unveiled 19 new vehicles at the Epping Fire Station.
These vehicles will add value to the current capacity of Fire and Rescue Service fleet and will allow the fire services to respond to the increasing requests for assistance with fires and other related emergencies.
The Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, attended the event.
The investment in the newly acquired fire vehicles by the City’s Safety and Security Directorate amounts to more than R81 million. The acquisition process which started several years ago will allow Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service to expand its capability ahead of the summer months to deal with veld, industrial and residential fires.
“Our firemen and women work in extremely dangerous environments when called upon to extinguish fires. They need the best equipment to assist those in need, to protect lives, property and infrastructure. These vehicles will allow them to access mountainous terrain and will increase the response time. The City’s Fire Service often assists neighbouring municipalities when requested. The investment in these vehicles is an investment in the safety of our residents and the natural and built environment,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
According to Station Commander F Munnik (Training Academy) and Platoon Commander W Moolman (Fleet), all of the vehicles have extensive off road capabilities with an advanced drive train to allow for accessing difficult terrain. In addition to the water storage capacity, some of the vehicles also have foam tanks on board for extinguishing certain fires in environments where using foam is required instead of the conventional medium of water.
The latest technology allows the operator to control the foam and water cannons from within the vehicle even while in transit, or from a remote console.
Among the new fleet, two are fully equipped heavy technical rescue vehicles that are fitted with a wide range of rescue devices and equipment that further enhance the capabilities of rescue teams, and compare favourably to similar vehicles in the United States and Europe. They will be deployed from Bellville and Roeland Street respectively and have been custom designed and built, on a 6×6 chassis, incorporating a vehicle mounted crane, several new items of equipment not available previously such as technical search devices.
The new vehicles are fully off-road capable to address the geographical challenges within the City.
The water tankers have improved off-road capabilities with larger capacities for carrying water and foam concentrate on remote controlled turrets.
On 30 September ETS Emergency Training Solutions (PTY) LTD will host their annual 2021 Competition for fire fighters.
“We look forward to the competition and hope that everyone will have an enjoyable day!” said the management and staff of ETS.
Throughout the year the participants have to keep their wits about them to beat the challenges they face in minimising emergency risks, and during the competition it is time to hone their skills against like-minded peers in a practical way. The course demands stamina, grit and determination from the contestants. The resident medic will be on duty to deal with any incidents on the day.
The Toughest Fire Team Event will see participants in full bunker gear transferring 20 wooden blocks from one stack to another using a hydraulic spreader; crawl through 3 x 250 ℓ drums wearing the SCBA harness and tanks (not face assembly); run and roll up a 65mm x 30m fire hose neatly; drag a stretcher with a 50kg dummy over a distance of 50m; drag a tyre over 50m; drag a 50kg wheeled extinguisher over a distance of 50m and extend a fully charged 65mm hose line as far as they can, before opening the nozzle and hitting a target with the water stream.
Due to risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Main Event will be on the fireground with scenarios that don’t require SCBA. The Individual Skills Event will involve specialised knots with a limited length of rope.
Participants can expect some surprises along the way with lots of trophies and gifts, so that no one goes home empty-handed.
For any enquiries, or if you want to exhibit, please email Pinkie at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Tel: (016) 363 0254
“Frustration comes with knowing you need to perform a rescue operation, but you don’t have the correct PPE.” Emile Conrad shares the challenges of his job as a fire-fighter in George, Western Cape. “Most of the fires we fight are in the wild; veld, forest and mountain, and this means the terrain is treacherous and the conditions are unforgiving, so we rely heavily on our gear to keep us safe.”
Emile never imagined his life’s journey would lead him to fire-fighting, in fact, he had his heart set on carpentry, something which he has a natural talent for. “I grew up and went to school in Atlantis; and I saw myself pursuing woodwork and carpentry as a career.” It was only when South Africa went into recession that Emile was forced to seek an alternative means of income. “My then girlfriend, who is now my wife, worked in the fire services for the City of Cape Town. It was actually one of her colleagues who pushed me to do a fire-fighting course”.
After several attempts to gain employment with the fire services in Cape Town, Emile finally signed a 2-year contract with the Garden Route District Municipality as a fire-fighter and left for George in 2009, and “never looked back”.
George is one of the country’s hardest hit areas when it comes to wildland and bush fires, and fires can rage seemingly unabated for days. When Emile is questioned about what goes through his head when he is thrust into a life or death situation, he chuckles, “You have to know when to push and when to pull back. Strength of mind plays a huge role; of course, this is a very physically demanding job but your mind is your strongest weapon because fear can paralyse you.” Emile’s strength of mind is supported by his lifestyle. As an avid CrossFit athlete, Emile dedicates time off-duty to his fitness and strength training. Fire fighters are normally on duty for 12 hours at a time, and if not out on a rescue, Emile likes to spend his time pushing his limits, “After I won the Toughest Fire Fighter Competition in the Western Cape in 2011, the bug had bitten. The competition went national in 2012, and I placed second – that was a hard pill to swallow and I knew that if I was going to be the best, I had to get serious about my training. I now have my own training rig at home, and when I’m on off-duty, I don my structural firefighting gear with my backpack and do a few circuits.”
Emile went on to win the nationals in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019, an accolade which bears testament to his rigorous training regime and single-minded approach. He knows that good PPE also gives him the edge, “Wearing my Charnaud fire suit gives me the opportunity to simulate real life rescue situations during my training. A fire suit can weigh between 4 to 6 kilograms depending on the design and the manufacturer, with some suits having one up their competitors when it comes to crucial aspects like breathability and flexibility and this makes a big difference in terms of the time it takes to perform a rescue.”
In 2016 CHARNAUD® came on board to personally sponsor Emile with his own custom-fitted CHARNAUD® FIRE-SAFE® AIR-LITE Bunker Suit. Keen to educate Emile about what sets the CHARNAUD® AIR-LITE Bunker Suit apart, he was invited to tour their factory in KwaZulu-Natal, to see the manufacturing process first-hand and to have his bunker suit custom fitted.
Aside from direct heat exposure, heat stress is a very real challenge for fire fighters as heat builds up inside the suit. The difference between a good and an industry-leading fire suit is its interior membrane. The interior membrane is what enhances the suits ability to disperse heat better, a vital component in this line of work. Emile gives a glimpse into what it is like wearing a fire suit in a structural rescue. “It gets very hot inside your suit. Even if you’ve done it a hundred times, the discomfort never goes away. This is where a strong mind helps, because you know you have to put your discomfort aside for the good of others and in order to perform a rescue. But some suits are better than others; and having had the opportunity to wear the CHARNAUD® AIR-LITE® bunker suit for the last 5 years, has made me realise that the alternative PPE we use doesn’t always meet the same standards.” He continues, “I’m privileged to be able to have CHARNAUD® sponsor me, and now that I’ve had the chance to wear a different kind of suit I can say that the CHARNAUD® suits definitely gives me more – its heat dispersion is better, it’s a lighter suit and its way more flexible. Flexibility in a fire suit is as important as breathability because limited suit flexibility coupled with high heat can cause you to fatigue sooner.”
When asked whether he ever dreams about doing something else with his life, Emile replies, “This is my calling, I realise that now. My wife was in fire services before me, but I never thought I’d end up here. The nature of my job is unpredictable you never know what you’re going to face and that keeps me mentally alert and forces me to stay physically fit; you can say it really tests my limits and exposes my weaknesses. Fear is always there but I lean on my faith, the years of on-the-job experience and having the correct lifesaving PPE to enable me to save lives”.
“We are always talking about how to perform a rescue better and quicker and its true when I say that taking those few extra seconds to put the right PPE on ultimately saves you minutes. The old saying is ‘Training saves seconds, seconds save minutes and minutes save lives’, so wear your PPE.” He ends by explaining how world-class PPE has helped him to claim first place in the SAESI (South African Emergency Services Institute) Combat Challenge in 2017, “This competition is described as the toughest 2 minutes in sport, and I managed to shave 20 seconds off my previous time and to win first place. My CHARNAUD® AIR-LITE® bunker suit definitely contributed to my success.”
Following the launch of the Pentheon Series in May 2020, Holmatro now introduces twelve additional cordless rescue tools to complete the range.
Like the first four tools in this series, the new models offer unparalleled speed, ultimate control and extremely easy battery management. The Pentheon Series is designed to outperform all other rescue tools on the market, regardless of whether these are battery-powered or connected to an external pump by means of a hose.
The complete Pentheon Series
In addition to Cutter PCU50, Spreader PSP40, Combi Tool PCT50 and Telescopic Ram PTR50 the Pentheon Series now includes the following new rescue tool models:
Whether you are looking for compact and lightweight models for rapid interventions or larger models for heavy-duty applications, the extended Pentheon Series can meet any rescue tool requirement.
Pentheon features and benefits
The twelve newly added tools have the same features & benefits as the four existing models. Some important ones are:
• Stepless Speed Maximization. Patented technology maximizing speed at any tool load. Where other battery tools show a significant drop in speed when switching to another stage to deal with the higher loads, Pentheon tools stick to the ideal speed curve.
• Two-Mode Control Handle for ultimate tool control. This enables you, at any time during the rescue operation, to choose between the tools’ high-speed and low-speed modes. Simply turn the control handle further to its left or right to switch between both modes.
• On-Tool Charging: Battery management made easy. Leave the battery to charge on the tool. Simply plug the tool into the charger and the whole charging process will regulate itself. The battery on the tool always has priority over the one on the charger. The maximum configuration that can be powered from one outlet consists of three tools, three chargers and six batteries.
• Extended working time. This is thanks to a purpose-built battery with increased capacity, an energy efficient drive system and an Auto Start/Stop system. In addition, Temperature Management Technology allows you to keep working with Pentheon tools in extremely hot conditions.
• Under water use. Pentheon tools can be used while being fully submerged in water. Batteries can be swapped under water too.
• Smart Ram Extension. When using one of the optional extension pipes (440mm/17.3in and 220mm/8.7in) the ram automatically adapts its force to the new maximum length that can be achieved. Quick and simple connection of the extension pipes over the ram head.
• Realtime diagnostics. LED indicators on the tools, batteries and chargers provide real-time feedback on tool temperature, max. pressure reached, battery temperature, battery state of charge and battery state of health.Immediately visible, no need to press a button first. More information can be obtained with the help of free Holmatro Diagnostics Software.
• Compact and inline tool design. This is achieved through a patented integrated motor & pump sharing the same shaft and a battery that fits around the tool like a bracelet.
For more information, please go to
Technical specifications of all Pentheon Series rescue tools can be found in the product catalog on the Holmatro website.
There is still time to register
It is time to take training to another level with virtual reality and SkillsTrain. Virtual Reality Training is the digital simulation of lifelike scenarios for training purposes and in this webinar, we will be taking you through the FLAIM Extinguisher and practically show you HOW it immerses trainees in virtual reality, delivering a realistic simulation of a range of fire events to efficiently train first responders. For further information contact: 082 552 7742 or Click here to register for this FREE event hosted by an awesome line-up of international speakers: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/8816256481845/WN_l_lhYyBAR_u-Ka3oggmcsg=
There is still time to register
It is time to take training to another level with virtual reality and SkillsTrain.
Virtual Reality Training is the digital simulation of lifelike scenarios for training purposes and in this webinar, we will be taking you through the FLAIM Extinguisher and practically show you HOW it immerses trainees in virtual reality, delivering a realistic simulation of a range of fire events to efficiently train first responders.
Click here to register for this FREE event, hosted by an awesome line-up of international speakers:
Time doesn’t stand still for anyone or anything, not even for our EMS Guide which turns 30 this year.
Although the Covid pandemic has been a disaster for many companies, it has also made many look at new possibilities or better ways to conduct business.
Before Covid-19, magazine publishing was already turning to digital as its leading platform, we were however still stuck on the printed book as our main means of distribution. With the postal system becoming unreliable over the past few years, and delivery times coming to almost a standstill during Covid, we decided to focus on a larger digital presence. We never anticipated how successful it would be, nor the positive spin-offs that would come out of it. Instead of posting hundreds of Buyer’s Guides and then losing track of them, we can now see how many people are reading and using the book, we can keep track on our subscribers, how many countries we reach and which ones, we can see how many new and repeat users we have – all this on a daily basis.
Our newsletters – the new feature we introduced last year – are delivered directly to the inbox of our subscribers and remain forever on our website as a reference. They are individualised so that only one company has the entire platform to themselves at a time, keeping the end-user up-to-date on new products on the market and any relevant company changes.
We are now busy with our volume 30. Please email us at email@example.com if:
1. You want to advertise
2. Want to get a hard copy over and above the digital copy
3. Any emergency services department or suppliers wanting to update their information.
We would also appreciate feedback on the changes we made this year – good or bad, and any suggestions for improving our service and Buyer’s Guide.
When it comes to selecting the right respiratory protection there are some important factors to consider: Knowledge of the existing contaminants, application requirements, respirator limitations and the protection levels each offers. Sound complicated? You are not alone, Dräger has the right tools to support you and will help you every step of the way.
Lets look at the approvals of the systems mentioned above:
All over the world, many different standards and approvals
Our experts take these regulations into account during the whole lifecycle.
Each filter is CE-certified in accordance with the valid version of EN 14387, EN 143:2000 or the DIN 58620 for CO filters.
Further local approvals are available for some of our X-plore filters, e.g. EAC (Russia), LA (China), NBR (Brazil), SANS (South Africa)
EN 14387. Standard for gas and combination filters
EN 143. Standard for particle filters
DIN 58620. Standard for CO filters
AS/NZS 1716. Australian standard
Filtered escape devices
Two main standards are applicable for the PARAT escape hood series:
DIN 58647-7 for filtering escape devices and EN 403:2004 for fire escape hoods.
In addition, the filters of the PARAT 4700 and 7500 are tested in accordance with EN 14387:2004.
The filter of the PARAT 5500 fire escape hood is additionally tested for the use against H2S (at 2,500 ppm) in accordance with DIN 58647-7.
Air purifying respiratory protection
X-plore filters can be used with half masks X-plore 3000 or with full-face masks X-plore 5500 and X-plore 6000.
In addition, Rd40 filters can be used with any half and full-face mask with a standard filter connection. Dräger also offers disposable particle filtering face pieces and even powered air purifying respirators.
Applications for the X-plore Filters
Equipment for fast and safe escape
Emergencies need an expert:
Unplanned situations with hazardous substances can occur within seconds. No escape scenario is the same.
Individual situations need individual escape concepts fitting to your company’s environment.
Applications for the Parat filtered escape devices
Day to day use
The broad portfolio of X-plore filters offers high protection against almost every hazardous substance, including CO* and radioactive methyl iodide*. In total more than 70 different filters are available.
Effective protection against hazardous substances when working with wood, Laboratory work, Painting and Welding as examples. You have to protect your respiratory organs against a diverse range of gases.
*Only Rd40 filter series
Filtered Escape devices
When every second counts, ready for escape in only 3 steps. This saves valuable seconds in emergencies; during maintenance operations, for fire fighters in case of fire to rescue people from the affected area, protection against carbon monoxide during operational use and when fire related and industrial gases might be present at the same time.
Follow the links below for more information on our X-Plore filers and our Parat escape devices;
Why are workers still being killed in factory fires in Bangladesh?
It is hard to believe that employers and factory owners in Bangladesh still lock fire doors and prevent workers from escaping in the event of a fire.
Eight years ago in 2013, I wrote a damming article about the criminal activities of Bangladesh employers, and the government.
Why is it that eight years later I am asking “How long will it be until factories in Bangladesh manufacturing goods for Canada, the U.S. and European-headquartered companies are safe for workers? Why am I writing about another 52 workers who died in another factory fire in Bangladesh on July 8th, 2021? How can it be in this day and age factory owners are still locking doors preventing workers from escaping fire?
At the Hashem Food and Beverage factory in Rupganj, an industrial town 15 miles east of Dhaka, 52 workers, including children as young as 11, died in a massive fire that began on July 8 and raged on for more than a day, according to a report from Al Jazeera.
The news outlet reported that Jayedul Alam, police chief for Narayanganj district where the factory is located, said the entrance had been padlocked at the time of the blaze and the factory breached multiple fire and safety regulations. A fire services spokesman also said the exit door to the main staircase had been padlocked. Highly flammable chemicals and plastics had also been stored in the building.
If this sounds all too familiar, Bangladesh, which employs tens of thousands of low-paid workers making garments for large international companies has a long and tragic history of industrial disasters.
Continuing corruption and a lack of enforcement have resulted in hundreds of deaths over the years. It is widely believed that the only way to prevent these criminal acts is to boycott clothing produced in Bangladesh.
After the horrific collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory during 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, the country imposed tougher safety rules. An agreement between Bangladeshi unions and international brands was signed – The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. It was a five-year agreement signed in May 2013 and extended until 2018. The next expiry date is August 31, 2021.
According to Remake, the initial inspection of Bangladesh’s factories in 2013 found “more than 87,000 safety issues, including more than 50 factories that were at immediate risk of collapsing”. Since then, as a result of 38,000 initial and follow-up inspections, more than 90% of the original hazards which were identified have been eliminated.
While this is an important step, there are still issues. If there weren’t issues, we wouldn’t see headlines like these with regularity “the country’s garment industry has since become largely compliant under domestic and global watchdogs. But many other local industries fail to maintain safety compliance and the disasters have continued”.
In 2019, 67 people were killed when a complex housing warehouses, shops and apartments caught fire.
Responding to this latest tragedy the International Labor Association gave this statement:
“This incident illustrates the urgent need in Bangladesh for authorities and building owners to ensure that buildings in which thousands of workers spend the better part of their day are built and operated in compliance with national code requirements. If the fire safety measures required by the regulations were properly implemented, it would provide for the safe evacuation of occupants in this type of emergency”.
This cannot and should not ever happen again. Tighter regulations must ensure worker’s safety and we should never have to write another story like this.
When the people take back the power and hold public officials accountable, then and only then, will conditions change. In 1991, after the Imperial Chicken processing plant caught fire in Hamlet, North Carolina in which 25 people were killed, the owner did just under 4 years in prison because he had ordered the doors padlocked from the outside. It was not nearly enough, but it was the first time in North Carolina that someone did real prison time for safety violations.
This was a time of reckoning for NCs safety programmes. Laws were passed, people were held accountable. The feds threatened to take over North Carolina Labor unless certain minimum standards were implemented and John C. Brooks, Labor Commissioner at the time, lost the next election. Since 2004, North Carolina has been ranked in the top 5 safest states to work.