International Firefighters' Day Celebrates Province's Heroes | Western Cape Government



International Firefighters' Day Celebrates Province's Heroes

4 May 2013

Firefighters risk their lives daily – be it any incident such as a veldfire, road accident, chemical spill or natural disaster – to protect the citizens of the Western Cape and their property. 

Saturday, 4 May 2013 marks International Firefighters' Day and to commemorate this annual celebration, the Western Cape Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services – including various fire services of the City of Cape Town, Cape Winelands and West Coast District – will host festivities at Club Mykonos resort in Langebaan.

Various fire- and rescue-related demonstrations will take place throughout the day and an exhibition area will be set up.

This day is an opportunity for the public to honour those who put their lives on the line in a solemn sacrifice to serve their country. It’s also a day to remember those who have lost their lives in the line of duty while earnestly trying to save a life or protect those in danger.

Members of the public are invited to bring their families along and spend some time enjoying the various activities that will be taking place.

The details of the event are as follows:

Time: 09:00 -15:30 (see programme attached)
Date: Saturday, 4 May 2013
Venue: Club Mykonos resort in Langebaan

Firefighters have been very successful at protecting life and property this past summer. The Western Cape experienced many raging veldfires this season.

Besides the nearly 1 000 ground-based firefighters that were available this season, 24 strategically located firefighting aircraft, including helicopters, were deployed to rapidly respond to veldfires in the early stages. In addition, 107 aerial firefighting missions were authorised and expedited by the Western Cape Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services.

“This strategy prevented extended firefighting operations and major fire spread,” said Colin Deiner, Chief Director of the Western Cape Disaster Management.

Although fires do occur on a regular basis, this season experienced a culmination of adverse conditions and increased frequency. Growing invasion of alien vegetation, high winds, climate change and the resulting hotter and drier periods can often aggravate the fire situation.

On one occasion 13 separate major veldfires occurred in the same period. This led to the activation of the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre from 29 January to 13 February 2013. This was the first time the centre had been activated in response to veldfires in the Western Cape. The situation was rapidly stabilised by deploying an additional 15 extra ground support teams comprising 24 firefighters each from surrounding Provinces.

The partnership between the Western Cape Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services and various fire and rescue services, including that of the City of Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Overberg, Eden, Central Karoo and West Coast District municipalities resulted in the prevention of millions of rands in property loss.

As the winter season approaches, firefighters will continue to respond to residential and informal settlement fires. Various prevention programmes are currently being implemented by the Province's Fire and Rescue Services to help reduce the potential loss to life and property. 

Media Enquiries: 

Jacqui Pandaram
Acting Chief Director: Disaster Management & Fire Brigade Services
Cell: 083 440 9698