Give back at fire base

2017-02-28 06:00
The south peninsula station of the Volunteer Wildfire Services, currently based in Sun Valley, is looking for a new location and more volunteers.PHOTO: Evelyn Lyle

The south peninsula station of the Volunteer Wildfire Services, currently based in Sun Valley, is looking for a new location and more volunteers.PHOTO: Evelyn Lyle

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A group of local firefighting volunteers are looking to swell its ranks.

The south peninsula station of Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) is looking for a permanent facility to operate from, as well as recruiting new members, says spokesperson Warwick Chapman.

“We need to grow our base of trained and active firefighters and find a permanent facility to operate our station from. A permanent base with more space for vehicles and equipment will allow us to better service the south,” explains Chapman.

A bigger base would also assist in training volunteers, Chapman says.

“We also need more training space as we are currently reliant on the Newlands station to offer enough training opportunities for all our members,” explains Chapman.

“Mostly, we need more trained firefighters and experienced team leaders.”

The VWS was first established in 1999 by a group of volunteers and Sanparks.

The unit was founded in anticipation of uncontrolled fires in Table Mountain National Park and the Cape Peninsula area.

In 2005 the VWS became a non-profit organisation and has since grown to the greater Cape Town and Boland areas.

The south peninsula station was founded in 2012 and has 34 members based at a storage facility in Sun Valley, Chapman ­explains.

“The station was established to reduce response times to fires in the south as members had to drive from Simon’s Town to Newlands to respond to a fire in Simon’s Town. The station also provides better standby coverage for the south,” says­ ­Chapman.

“We operate primarily in Table Mountain National Park and support other agencies when resources are available. This season, members from the station have helped with fires in Somerset West and Stellenbosch in addition to the fires in the City Bowl.”

The station is now putting out a call for support, both in finding a permanent location and growing team numbers.

“Sign up to train,” says Chapman, referring volunteers to the recruitment section of the VWS website.

“Train with us, and qualify to become a firefighter, driver or part of the support team (non-firefighters). Of course, donations to help us fund and expand our operation are always a valued form of support.”

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