The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service formally welcomed 25 new staff members. The learner firefighters took centre stage at their graduation ceremony in Epping last week.
The City’s newest firefighter recruits earned their crests and axes after an intensive selection process and training course.
Would-be firefighters undergo a physical assessment that require them to go up against the clock and complete set exercises including pushups, sit-ups and a 2,4 kilometre run. Once they’ve cleared that hurdle, they have to pass a written assessment before attending a final interview.
Only once they have passed all of the selection criteria do they become learner firefighters. Once formally recruited, they undergo eight months of training that includes firefighting, hazardous materials awareness and first aid training.
‘Firefighting continues to be one of those careers that capture the imagination. It’s one of the things many young children tell you they want to be when they grow up. For these 25 new recruits, the dream is now a reality and I have every confidence that they will wear the uniform with pride and execute their duties in similar fashion. The residents of this city rely heavily on the service that our firefighters provide. A cursory glance at our fire statistics, particularly in summer, is the clearest indicator yet of how crucial this service is. But it’s not just fires – many of our fire stations are also the first port of call for trauma cases and our firefighters are also first responders in many motor vehicle accidents. So the uniform comes with great responsibility,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.
The 25 new firefighters are aged between 22 and 37, comprising 18 males and seven females who hail from a range of areas including Khayelitsha, Delft, Philippi and Worcester. They will be deployed to 12 of the City’s 32 fire stations. In the next week, they’ll undergo orientation at their respective stations, which includes getting their gear assigned, before starting active duty at the beginning of August.