City of Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo congratulates CERT teams from Lenasia Region G
City of Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo handed out City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Service’s certificates to eighteen volunteers from the community who successfully completed a three month course in fire and rescue services. The community from Lenasia and Region G can breathe a little easier knowing that help is on the way. The concept of active involvement when it comes to life-saving initiatives and prevention campaigns is not a new concept and these exist all over the planet.
If you understand what a bucket brigade is you will find two key elements that exists, resources and a group of people who come together to extinguish a fire. The more people we have in our Bucket Brigade the greater our capabilities are in reaching water that may have been very far away.
This type of thinking is what recently spearheaded an initiative by two NPOs, a community based non-profit organisation and a Fire Fighting Youth Development Academy.
Together a plan was mapped out to draw community members actively into the fire fighting structures that exist in South Africa and after three months of training, a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has emerged.
Saving a Life will be more than just a qualified professionals responsibility and duty. With this active incorporation of the community, we can expect to see greater results and more lifesaving initiatives being implemented.
Developing partnerships and collaborations with Government structures and its emergency services divisions that have traditionally been tasked with saving lives is key to the initiative’s success. A tandem venture and our Bucket Brigade starts having the numbers that are needed in getting to work more effectively.
Saaberie Chishty Society, a community based NPO, SAFFYDA, a Fire Fighting Youth Development Academy and the City of Johannesburg Emergency Services have together developed and activated the Community Emergency Response Team, which will provide and extend its capabilities to offering immediate assistance with fire and rescue efforts. The plan is to incorporate the team into the Disaster Management Act and this collaboration will bring communities and its governmental structures closer and working in partnership with each other.
The first team to have been put through the training consisted of individuals with prior knowledge in rescue, first responders as well as medical professionals currently in the Saaberie Chishty Ambulance division.
The CERT members were trained on basic fire and rescue methods that will aid the City of Johannesburg Emergency Services structures and these members will primarily act as first responders for the City’s Emergency Services.
Future plans are to train the CERT members on additional search and rescue courses, to develop new members from within the community, to develop a Youth Cadet Academy and ultimately procuring resources such as fire and emergency vehicles and equipment in order to adequately equip these members to save a life, reduce injury to victims and lessen the extent of damage to property in the event of a fire.
The mayor of Johannesburg, Mayor Geoff Makhubo, attended the CERT graduation and encouraged initiatives such as these. Mayor Makhubo says the City of Johannesburg has a backlog 35 fire engines, the local government has ordered more. He acknowledged the generous donation of a rapid intervention vehicle by the business sector in Lenasia saying he wants to forge partnerships with the private sector and community.
The launch of this CERT initiative is intended to captivate and encourage communities throughout South Africa to also develop partnerships with emergency services in their regions, to train, develop and launch ongoing initiatives such as these, which empower the communities to play an active role in assisting emergency services structures.
Mayor Makhubo expressed his appreciation and thanked the Saaberie Chisthy Society for their selfless efforts in volunteerism and service to the communities.
Source: Deon Essau, station commander, City of Johannesburg Emergency Services