WOF Drivers are passionate about getting firefighters to and from fires safely
Working on Fire is proud of its team of WOF drivers. These men and women are passionate about transporting teams safely to and from a fireline. They effectively manage vehicles with up to 25 passengers and equipment; across long distances; at all hours of the day; and over often bumpy and dangerous terrain.
To ensure that they are always skilled and ready to do their work, they need to undergo annual refresher driver training. During the training, their knowledge of road safety and operational procedures, as well as their driving skills on specific vehicle types, are assessed. At the end of the training, each driver receives a yellow card (permission to access a fireline), a blue card (permission to operate non-fireline vehicles) or is requested to redo the training.
“The safety of our participants is vitally important to us. For this reason, we have to ensure that our drivers are skilled and capable of performing their work,” explains Jacob Singo, Executive: OHS and Transport.
Yellow card training in preparation for the Cape Summer Fire Season
The most recent training took place in October. Two, week-long training camps were held: 22 drivers in Newlands for the Western Cape region and 23 drivers in George for the Southern Cape region.
The content and skills that were covered, included: Fireline Safety (Theory and practical), Water Delivery (operations and maintenance), Resource Safety (inspections, reporting, incident management), Defensive Driving (theory), Radio Communications, Road Assessments, Resource Management and Administration and Fitness Assessments.
Drivers need the following minimum requirements to receive a yellow card:
- Achieve 80% on-road assessment – competency tested on vehicle size and capabilities (FT)
- Achieve 75% on fireline safety (theory and practical)
- Pass a fitness test (14 min time cap on 2.4 km)
“We are extremely proud of the quality of drivers in the Working on Fire Program. Keep up the good work. I would like to encourage our drivers to keep making a difference. Apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired,” said Amor Adlem, WOF Transport Manager.
According to Antonie Wagenaar, Arial Support Vehicle (ASV) Driver for WOF Aviation at Denneoord, the refresher training is ‘a must’. “WOF drivers work under high-pressure circumstances and you need to know what you know. Therefore, it is always good to revise systems and processes and make sure we all know how to correctly use the equipment.”