A total of 20 WOF firefighters from the Western Cape have attended structural firefighting training in Pietermaritzburg to add a dimension to their veld and forest firefighting skills. This will enable them to assist with structural fires in their community based fire stations. The team will undergo a rigorous 10-weeks training course where they will be equipped with in-depth skills of fighting structural fires. The training commenced on 6 October and will end on 15 December.
Eleven of the firefighters from Albertinia will be placed at Hessequa Local Municipality, four from Tulbagh in Witzenberg, and another five from Uniondale at the Oudtshoorn Local Municipality.
Below is some direct feedback on the experience from some of the Western Cape participants.
Jowayne Adams, Crew Leader from Tulbagh
“I am grateful to have been selected for the structural firefighting training because ever since I joined Working On Fire, my life changed forever as I found out that fighting fires is my passion and it is something I want to do for the rest of my life. I am happy that I am going to learn a new dimension of firefighting. I am going to take this opportunity with both of my hands and see where it will get me, over and above I am over the moon. I also love the fact that I will do my practical at my local municipality, I feel this will bring me closer to my community which I will be serving and protecting from fires,” he said.
Thabang Ngxaga from Tulbagh
“I am grateful for this opportunity to be selected to go for structural firefighting training, it is everyone’s dream here at WOF, so to be chosen among many who applied is an honour. I would like to send my sincere gratitude to the programme for constantly giving us skills like this one. Working on fire taught us to easily adapt to situations and I am confident that we are going to make it no matter how hard it might be.”
Zingisa Manjiya firefighter from Tulbagh
“I am excited and nervous at the same time because I don’t know what to expect from the other side, but I have confidence in myself that whatever it is or how hard it may be, I will make it. I think these skills we are going to get are going to open more opportunities for us. Working On Fire has taught me so much and I will make my leaders proud with completing this training. I am happy to be part of it is will make me grow in this career path.”
Chrizane Blaauw firefighter Uniondale
“Working On Fire has had a positive influence on my life a lot. I am proud to be associated with the programme because my community members say positive things about WOF and that also makes my community members respect me. Being selected for the training is a huge opportunity for me as a rural boy, the young generation in my community will look up to me and that is what I want to do, make my community proud.”
Imeran Blaauw firefighter from Uniondale
“Working On Fire changed my life because it allowed me to provide for my family, and my siblings are looking up to me. Going for the structural training is a very good opportunity for me because when I joined WOF I told myself that I want to be more than just a firefighter and this is a step towards that direction. I was to be an inspiration and someone some people look up to. I have applied for jobs within the structural firefighting but could not make it, I think this training is going to open those doors for me.”
Reagan Van Wyk from Uniondale
“My eight-year journey with Working On Fire has been amazing, I have been overseas two times. This is my first job straight out of school and the programme gave me skills I never taught I would have. I am prepared to take on the new challenge of learning structural firefighting. I am planning to work hard and make sure this is a success and make my family and community proud.”
Justice De Kella from Uniondale
“Before I joined Working On Fire, it has always been a dream to be part of the programme because I love adventure and I knew I would enjoy suppressing fires. For me to be chosen to be part of the guys going for structural training, this is a life-changing opportunity. I have always wanted to become a structural firefighter and I knew joining WOF would be a step in that direction. This is finally happening and I am grateful to WOF for making my dream come true.”
Lurozo Jantjies from Goudveld Base
“I have been with WOF for almost two years and the programme changed my life, I got skills I never thought I can have. WOF taught me a lot of things and it continues to do so. By going to this training it means doors will open and there will be a better future for me and my family. I am so excited to have been given this opportunity and I am confident that I will come back with positive results.”