fire station

The City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue service has started the scoping works for two new fire stations in Masiphumelele and Sir Lowry’s Pass/Somerset West. A total of R13-million has been set aside for each facility, the city said on Sunday.

There were 30 fire stations across the metro, with the oldest being the Roeland Street Fire Station built in 1929 and commissioned into service in June 1932. These were supported by the 10 disaster management volunteer base stations that the city has built and opened over the past two years.

“Currently, the projects are in the design phase, with construction expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017 and to near completion towards the end of 2018,” mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said.

“The Masiphumelele project is especially crucial. The area is prone to devastating structural fires as we’ve witnessed in previous years. The South Peninsula has also been ravaged by a number of vegetation fires over the last two summer seasons, so another fire station in this part of the metro is a no-brainer. It means that our firefighters are able to get to the scene quicker and save lives and also property,” he said.

In addition to the new fire stations, the fire and rescue service was in the process of introducing 12 new fire engines to its fleet. These vehicles had been acquired at a cost of just over R3 million each. They were the first of their kind in South Africa and were able to traverse both urban and rural terrain. They had GPS functionality, tiptronic gearboxes, and the pump could provide 4000 litres per minute (lpm) at 10 bar or 100 lpm at 40 bar pressure. In addition, there was more space for equipment and personnel and the vehicles were fitted with telescopic scene lighting, which was particularly useful in informal settlements and on freeways.

“While Somerset West has an existing facility, it is not a fire station but a converted workshop with space for staff and administrative duties. The new fire station will service Somerset West and Sir Lowry’s Pass village,” Smith said.

The pumps could produce water or foam with a single control and could be operated independently, which freed up the pump operator. Other features included an automatic water tank level system which maintained the tank at a three-quarter-level while pumping. It also shut off automatically when full and contained a peripheral tank level indicator.

“In terms of human resources, last month fire and rescue service put 484 applicants through their paces to become learner-trainee firefighters. The recruitment process will be completed in August 2016 and the successful recruits will start their eight-month training course in October 2016. At the same time, 43 previous trainee firefighters will be deployed on a full-time basis,” he said.

The search for 120 seasonal firefighters would also get under way in August 2016. This group would be deployed from 1 December, 2016 until the end of April 2017 to assist professional firefighters with veld fires, veld fire management, and prevention methods.

“We’ve invested so much in our fire and rescue service since 2006 and the results are evident because Cape Town is one of the best resourced cities in the country. It’s an investment that’s worth making, considering the fires that we experience every year. We are doing all that we can to make this a safer city, but we need residents to assist us by becoming more fire-aware and work with us to curb the number of preventable fires that are sadly all too common,” Smith said.

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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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