Yellow Cards ensure compliance on the fire line
Even though fire is a very valuable resource – used for cooking, creating heat, clearing land for farming and even fighting fire – it has the potential to cause great harm.
It is therefore vitally important that Working on Fire’s (WOF) brave men and women, who work tirelessly to protect lives, properties and the environment from unwanted wildfires, know what they are doing.
For this reason, Kishugu Training is currently conducting Yellow Card Survival Camps for the Working on Fire Programme. These camps ensure that WOF’s firefighters are current and ready for the winter fire season, which covers most of northern South Africa, and runs from May to October. Western Cape teams will be assessed in September.
WOF is an award-winning, Government funded, skills development programme, which recruits young men and women to become wildland firefighters. After completing a comprehensive firefighting training course at Kishugu Training, in Nelspruit, they receive a Yellow Card as part of their qualification. As employees of WOF, they are then able to help prevent and suppress unwanted wildfires. Working on Fire currently employs more than 4,500 firefighters across all nine provinces.
WOF firefighters are annually re-assessed during compulsory two-day camps, to determine whether they still comply with Yellow Card requirements.
“Renewing Yellow Cards annually is extremely important,” says Alfred Boer, Kishugu Training Accounts Manager for WOF. “It aims to protect both the individual as well as their crew members on the fire line. It ensures that the Working on Fire Programme has the capacity to manage incidents, like the fires we had in the Western Cape this season.”
During the Yellow Card Survival Camps the following assessments are conducted:
- 4 kilometre run: under 12 minutes for men and under 14 minutes for women
- Sit-ups: 40 in one minute
- Push-ups: 40 in one minute
- Pull-ups: 10 per minute for men and seven per minute for women
Participants undergo individual practical assessments to ensure they are competent with the various firefighting tools (rake hoe, beater, knapsack, drip torch etc.)
Participants have to pass a written test on the fundamentals of firefighting.
After successfully completing the Yellow Card Survival Camp, a participant’s Yellow Card is renewed, without which, he or she is not allowed on the fire line.
“If you want to be a firefighter, you have to be fit and know how to use firefighting tools correctly. These camps make sure that we can still remember what we learned during training. This is important if you want to stay safe and avoid injuries while fighting fires,” says Gertrude Mokoena, WOF participant at the LEFPA Base: Nelspruit.
“We are very impressed with the participants at this year’s camps,” said Boer. “They are fit and ready to fight fires. We are proud of them and wish them well during the upcoming fire season.”