City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Service announces initiative to support the Sunflower Foundation
The City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Service announced an initiative to support the Sunflower Foundation with its continued efforts to assist patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. A decommissioned fire engine has been refurbished and painted pink, representing women and children. The fire engine is named Hope and is a refurbished Ford FMC. Hope is the first pink fire engine in the fleet and also the first in the country. “Hope is an acronym for Helping Our People Everywhere and will operate out of Wynberg Fire Station,” said Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security in the City of Cape Town.
Hope is a 1986 Ford FMC 2x4, originally purchased by the old City of Belville administration. Operational until 1994 in Bellville and from 1994 it was operationally used in Khayelitsha until early 2000s. The engine then became a spare/replacement vehicle until 2005. From 2005 to 2018 it was used as a public education vehicle. Mariette Retief of Wynberg Fire Station suggested the opportunity of a pink fire engine about five years ago. The vehicle was due to be scrapped as a vintage vehicle.
The initiative was supported by CFO Ian Schnetler, executive director Safety and Security Richard Bosman and Alderman JP Smith. The vehicle boasts a V8 Cat engine with a Hale 750gpm pump, a Rockwood monitor and a 35-foot ladder.
Spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said, “In emergency services such as the fire and rescue service that serves a vast population of the city, fire fighters are continuously exposed to hazardous materials, smoke and other dangers, which the normal citizen is not exposed to. As much as possible is done to ensure prevention of their exposure to hazardous materials, however our staff, from time to time, are exposed, which can give rise the possibility of the onset of cancer.”
In realising this aspect and from many incidents which are now being highlighted worldwide, the Fire and Rescue Service has embarked on an initiative to support the Sunflower Foundation with its drive and continuous support it provides to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.
“In order to provide such support to and highlight the good work that is being carried out by the foundation, our service has converted one of our vehicles in a similar fashion as has been initiated in the USA and other countries,” said Carelse
It is a symbol of hope to those that are diagnosed with terminal or other illnesses and is primarily available in support of the various awareness campaigns to highlight healthcare and the plight of terminally ill patients.
“In support of the initiative in one of the more advanced and respected Fire and Rescue Services in the country, I fully endorse the initiative and wholly support the campaign in that despite the fact that fire fighters are heroes in their communities, they are not immune or immortal, they are but humans with a passion and edge to go where no-one else will venture in their quest to save a life,”
“To provide support and highlight the good work that is being carried out by the foundation, our service has converted one of our vehicles in a similar fashion as has been initiated overseas. Our service now has a bright pink fire engine which we hope will be a symbol of hope to those who are diagnosed with life threatening illness and an encouragement to others to support these initiatives,” said Alderman Smith.
Hope will be used for:
• Reach for a dream projects
• Children's hospital visits
• Healthcare awareness drives for related terminal illnesses such as cancer and its many forms in all vulnerable communities
• Pink Drive schools programme with the aim of educating learners on the importance of healthy living and addressing the risk factors of cancer
The Pink Drive is an organisation which strives to educate individuals on the prevention of breast, cervical, prostate and testicular cancer.
Hope should not be associated with a vehicle responding to emergencies and is strictly assigned and supportive of terminal illness awareness campaigns and the support they provide.
“It is our aim that Hope will encourage those who see her on the streets. Every cancer survivor, family member and supporter is a hero. We tip our hats to all of them,” said Alderman Smith.
Source: City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Service