With the implementation of the national lockdown, preparations for the annual Yellow Card Training Camps were disrupted. However, many firefighters ultimately, in spite of being under lockdown, continued to exercise at home, ensuring that when the winter fire season commenced they would be prepared.
“Usually these training camps would consist of approximately 4 teams of 25 firefighters who gather for 3 days and undergo strenuous activities to prove themselves capable to serve during the winter fire season. With the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic Working on Fire is closely following all the protocols and guidelines as directed by the Department of Health. We needed to change the approach when hosting Yellow Card training camps,” said Wayne Mokethi, spokesperson for Working on Fire in Bloemfontein.
Mokethi added that these camps are now hosted with individual teams at their bases and firefighters wear cloth masks and shields while conducting all the activities such as the 2.4km run, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, line construction, 10km route march and running through the firewall. Social distancing is constantly maintained, with firefighters and instructors being supplied with hand wash and hand sanitiser and temperatures being measured before being allowed on the premises.
Working on Fire urges landowners in particular to get into contact with them so that they can assist with the development of clear, integrated fire management services, which include, among others, prescribed burning, fuel load reduction, community fire awareness, early detection and fire suppression plans.
Antoinette Jini, Working on Fire Free State General Manager says, “As an essential service provider, Working on Fire has implemented all the guidelines and health and safety protocols as advised by the Department of Health to ensure that our firefighters return to work safely. With the winter fire season around the corner, once our firefighters have completed their yellow card training camps, they will be certified fit and capable to serve in their respective towns and cities. We wish our firefighters and partners a safe winter fire season.”