Firefighters share their experiences

The end of the Fire Season (2016/17) debriefing session hosted by the Overstrand Municipality was held at the Pringle Bay Community Hall on Thursday, 11 May 2017.

The event was an opportunity for the relevant emergency services officials involved with various fire-related incidents in the Overstrand area to analyse and discuss their collective experiences over the period. The fullday workshop was well represented by affected personnel of the Overstrand, Overberg and City of Cape Town municipalities, Provincial Traffic and Law Enforcement, as too partners and stakeholders such as CapeNature, Working on Fire, NCC Environmental Services and the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association.

Challenges that came to light were a lack of resources, suitably trained control room staff, specialised fire engines and apparatus, budgetary constraints, bylaw enforcement, instances of poor maintenance by some private landowners, mismanagement of ritual fires on private land and the need for effective communal radio channels, to name but a few. 

However, while those issues may have been the cause for concern there were also a myriad of positives that ensured incidents were dealt with in an efficient manner, where the loss of property and damage to the environment was contained to a bare minimum.

More importantly, no fatalities of human life were reported for the full entirety of the season (November 2016 to April 2017). 

To that end, Overstrand’s Director of Protection Services Neville Michaels remarked, “The integrated approach and excellent partnerships we have with the respective role players present here today is key to the success we have just enjoyed this past season.

The Overstrand community has been the main benefactor of your labour and we are deeply thankful to all of you for doing such a sterling job to safeguard the wellbeing of our people.

Your combined efforts are living testimony to the Western Cape’s slogan ‘FIRE IS EVERYONE’S FIGHT’.”

Emphasising the sentiment was Assistant Fire Chief Angelo Aplon, who stated, “The support from the community, proactive volunteers, as well as the efficiency and professionalism displayed by the local and crossborder emergency staff, together with the successful implementation and use of the Incident Command System (ICS), are crucial to providing a competent and able service.”

The Overstrand Fire Department recently hosted an end of fire season debriefing session at the Pringle Bay Community Hall. Front fltr Overstrand’s Cllr Fanie Krige (Kleinmond), Cllr Grant Cohen (Kleinmond), Neville Michaels (Director:  Protection Services), Coenie Groenewald (Municipal Manager), Cllr Arnie Africa (Portfolio Head:  Protection Services), Lester Smith (Chief:  Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management), Marlu Rust (Snr Disaster Management Officer) and Angelo Aplon (Ass Chief:  Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management). The large group at the back included officials of the Overstrand Traffic, Fire and Law Enforcement, Overberg District Municipality, Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue, CapeNature, NCC Environmental Services and Provincial Traffic.