Emergency alert

Firefighters brush up their skills in Elleker

Instructors Wayne Van Der Heide, Gerritt Ballast and Ben Braun debriefed firefighters after every exercise. (Gerrit Ballast)

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Highway, Torbay, Elleker, Redmond and Bornholm brigades joined together for a fun afternoon to battle imaginary fires in and around Elleker earlier this month.

They pulled long lengths of hoses to extinguish flames caused by lightning strikes in the coastal heath. They blacked out scrub beside railway tracks “ignited” by sparks from a passing train.

Crews tracked down the clues to what caused a fire in a public reserve and they couldn’t ignore the real smoke and flames from combusting haybales.

Real life scenarios

Highway Volunteer Bushfire Brigade captain Gerrit Ballast and Elleker Volunteer Bushfire Brigade captain Wayne van der Heide put the real-life scenarios together to help volunteers brush up on their skills for the coming fire season.

Around 20 Volunteers in eight fire appliances practiced giving detailed situation reports, working as a team, using foam, and creating extended hose lays. Crews had to refill their appliances using bores, ponds, and hydrants.

Volunteer firefighters practise putting out a smouldering fire in a stack of hay.

They were supported by Incident Controllers who managed the various “incidents” and gave feedback to each crew as they responded.

Crews gathered at the end of the exercise to debrief and have some refreshments. Many volunteers expressed appreciation for the variety of exercises and the way they are now better equipped for the coming season.

“Our city is safer for all your efforts.”

Fire chief Rob Lynn put it this way: “our city is safer for all your efforts”.

Fire brigades members relaxed after their training day at Elleker.

Mr Ballast suggested a number of options for community members looking for ways to support brigades.

“Consider signing up and become a volunteer,” he said.

“It’s a great way to learn new skills, make new friends and give back to your community.

“On the other hand, you may like to support your volunteer brigades financially.”

Volunteer firefighters practise putting out a smouldering hay fire.

Mr Ballast said brigades were currently raising funds to purchase IT equipment to assist in mapping and reporting.

Enquiries are welcome at 041 893 0573. 

Read more like this:

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