Getting firefighters to and from fires, is a WOF Driver’s passion
Working on Fire is proud of its team of WOF drivers who are passionate about transporting teams safely to and from a fireline or other Integrated Fire Management activities. These men and women effectively manage vehicles with up to 25 passengers and equipment, across long distances, at all hours of the day and over often rugged and dangerous terrain.
To ensure that they are always proficient and ready to do their work, they are subjected to 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 is awarded with a Yellow Card (permission to access a fireline), a blue card (permission to operate non-fireline vehicles) or requested to redo 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.
The most recent training, in preparation for the Cape Summer Fire Season, 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.
Content and skills 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.
To pass the training, and receive a yellow card, drivers need to:
- 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 tremendously proud of the calibre 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 by applying the knowledge and skills they have acquired.” – 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.”