This week my Sunday photo features VWS
Yesterday we attended the annual Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) Open Day held at the Newlands Fire Base. A fun filled family day with so many activities. The activities included a demonstration of firefighting skills, rides in the firetruck, abseiling, a snake display, helicopter display, firefighting equipment, food stalls and later a foam party.
The VWS was establish in 1999 and is a non-profit organisation. It now has four stations situated at Newlands, Jonkershoek, South Peninsula and Grabouw. Those joining VWS are students, the unemployed, the retired and those who have full time jobs. Besides the training; becoming a volunteer requires dedication, commitment and motivation. These volunteers risk their lives in combating a wildfire. Therefore fighting wildfires must really be a passion.
Wildfires and Volunteers
December to April is high fire season in the Western Cape. Fires are caused by human error and environmental factors. Arson, lit cigarette buds as well as changing weather patterns coupled by the South Easter wind are all causes. The VWS assist Table Mountain National Park, Cape Nature, Overberg and Winelands District Municipalities in combating the wildfires.
Yesterday they introduced 100 new recruits. Each recruit had to endure 150 hours of training during the winter months. It costs the VWS R6500 to kit out each volunteer. Most of the money received is from donations. The aim of the open day was to create awareness and to raise funds.
The work they do is completely voluntary. The men and women give up their time to help firefighters fight wild bush fires. They are notified with a moments notice via instant messaging of a fire and where to report for duty.
For the VWS to meet their annual running cost, they depend on donations from the public and businesses. These funds are used for operations, to purchase fuel, new equipment and vehicles. Visit the VWS website for more information on how you can make a donation or if you want to join as a volunteer .