Saving the world



October 16, 2016
Saving the world

HOT STUFF: Firefighters to compete in challenge in Brazil. CREDIT: Bertram Malgas

Kaapse firefighters off to compete in Brazil.

These firefighters are so hot they’re being sent overseas to show others how it’s done.

The team of seven Cape Town firemen are jetting off to Brazil on Sunday to take part in the World Rescue Organisation (WRO) Extrication Challenge being held in Parana next week.

Only the best Fire and Rescue teams from around the globe take part in the biggest simulated rescue event in the world.

Cape Town’s extrication team was formed in 2013, when they competed in the South African Emergency Services Institute competition but wasn’t placed.

They tried again in 2015, when they came second and also bagged the award for Best Technical team.

Team manager Arlene Wehr explains: “In 2013, the guys were just starting out and getting to know each other. They have really improved since then and you could see that in last year’s competition.”

The team was given the go-ahead from the SA Medical Rescue Organisation (SAMRO), and qualified to participate on international level.

The five-day event in Brazil will test the firefighters in skill, knowledge and the use of their equipment, says Morné Haskell, the team’s Incident Commander (IC).

They will get three accident scenarios, with 10, 20, and 30 minutes for each scenario to rescue patients.

“Our main priority, is to remove the patient from the vehicle without further harm and in the quickest time possible, all the while keeping our own safety in mind,” explains technician Warren Sam.

The seven-man team, which also includes another technician and a technician assistant, a medic and a reserve, come from different stations, including Hout Bay, Roeland Street, Strand and Milnerton.

Once the team returns from Brazil, they will spend three months visiting fire stations to create more vehicle extrication teams.

“The competition in Brazil is not about winning, it’s about getting the the whole world on the same level of rescue and medical treatment,” adds Warren.

“We owe it to the City of Cape Town to come back from Brazil to share what we learned to improve our department.”

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