Umvoti Fire Protection Association update

2015-08-12 06:00
Smirrie with his handler Cole Ngcongo doing a fire awareness demonstration at Mondi Gilboa.

Smirrie with his handler Cole Ngcongo doing a fire awareness demonstration at Mondi Gilboa.

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THE Umvoti Fire Protection Association spokesman said all concerned were very grateful it is has been a quiet fire season so far. Due to the drought, weather conditions are still extremely tinder dry and the dangers of fire are still very high. Everyone is urged to exercise extreme caution and not leave any fire unattended.

The response from the farmers in this community is, as always, great when there is a fire call-out, and the area can be proud of the way in which everyone assists each other - there is a wonderful community spirit.

Smirrie, the new UFPA tracker dog has been attending to various cases, ranging from housebreaking, one of which he got a good scent and tracked straight into a suspect’s house and found the stolen items, to a few arson-related cases.

One of his tracks led to the successful arrest in tracking an arson fire at Holmesdale where Smirrie tracked for about one kilometre straight to the suspect who was hiding in the bush. He was taken to the SAPS by Buffalo Protection Services, arrested and the authorities dealt with him. There have been a few more cases where the dog has tracked into the relevant kraals. There have been instances of school- children starting fires, the parents and school principals are notified so that disciplinary action can be taken. Fire safety demonstrations have been done at the relevant schools. Interest has been shown from outside the Umvoti district about our tracker hound, and a demonstration was done in the Lion’s River area as they are interested in getting their own arson tracker dog. Smirrie has also responded to a call-out in the Cramond area.

The next round of fire awareness programmes, facilitated by the UFPA, Mondi, Working on Fire and the Umvoti Disaster Management team, will commence again shortly. This programme focuses on fire awareness and safety and is aimed at communities and at schools. It is available for farmers and their staff should they wish to receive this presentation, to please contact the UFPA.

This is the second year the programme is being carried out and there has been a good response. Buffalo Protection Services does a tracking demonstration with Smirrie and his handlers at these fire awareness visits.

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