From class into the fire

2016-11-29 06:00
Elizabeth Minnaar and Kathleen Williams put their new fire safety knowledge in use when they recently saved a house from burning down in Tafelsig.

Elizabeth Minnaar and Kathleen Williams put their new fire safety knowledge in use when they recently saved a house from burning down in Tafelsig. (Samantha Lee)

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They had just completed a basic fire safety course when their newfound skills were put to the test.

Kathleen Williams and Elizabeth Minnaar were two of 20 women who participated in the course facilitated by ward 82 councillor Sheval Arendse in September.

Just days after the course was completed, the pair managed to implement their skills and save a neighbour’s home from burning down in Tafelsig.

“My grandson called me and told me the house was burning. I ran to check and saw the smoke. I immediately called Elizabeth and we rushed back to the house,” says Williams.

The pair says it was easy to take charge of the scene because they now had the knowledge needed for it.

“People opened the windows, but we told them not to. I ran into the house and felt no fear because I knew what I was doing,” says Minnaar. “I was at ease because we relied on what we were taught.”

As a result of Williams and Minnaar’s intervention the house was saved and only one room was damaged.

“We went back the next day to offer support and counselling. The family is very grateful,” says Williams.

Arendse says he is proud of the women.

“I decided to focus on women because they are the active ones in the community,” he says about the course.

The women did a follow-up first-aid session facilitated by Ricardo Carolissen of the City of Cape Town’s fire department.

Carolissen also facilitated the basic fire safety training.

He says the women saving this home is a prime example of the effectiveness of the training.

The women want no praise but instead are grateful they could put their skills to the test and help a family in need.

“This was a great course and we learnt a lot of useful tips,” says Minnaar.

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