Seven (7) Fire and Rescue officials from Eden District Municipality attended a Rope-Rescue and WASAR Course in Cape Town during September 2014.
The first course was a High Angle 1 Rescue course which took place from 8-12 September 2014. This is an in-depth and detailed course that equips the rescuer to safely remove victims from either mountainous-, steep slope- or high angle terrain, by using a verity of rescue skills and techniques.
The course covers the following unit standards:
• The identification of rope rescue equipment and PPE;
• identification and tying of knots used in rope rescue operations;
• characteristics of a rope used for rescue operations;
• the responsibility of safety;
• safety precautions;
• setting up of anchoring systems using either artificial or natural anchoring systems;
• packaging a patient onto a stoke basket for different kinds of hauling;
• constructing of different pulley systems to amplify the force used to haul a victim
• safely ascending and descending on a rope and performing pick off rescue (rescuing a conscious or unconscious victim from a rope).
The Wilderness Search and Rescue Course (WASAR) followed the next week from 15-19 September 2014. This course equipped learners for events when accidents occur and people go missing, fall in a mountainous terrain or when weather conditions prevent aerial support from searching or rescuing victims. It is the duty of the WASAR crew to perform search and rescue operations on ground level, using a number of skills.
The unit standards covered in the course included the following:
• The proper use of a GPS to
locate possibly known
positions of a victim;
• map reading skills and
working out of coordinates;
• patient packaging; etc.
GPS coordinates, food ration packs, maps, tents and stokes basket (with rope rescue equipment) was provided to teams, forcing them to practise the skills learned in order to perform this rescue operations. The class was divided into 2 teams and teams had to take turns in carrying a stokes basket stretcher with the rescue equipment and tents, to simulate the effects of carrying a patient in these harsh terrains. Learners left the base on Wednesday morning, 8 o’clock, and covered just under 7 km by 4 o’clock that evening (just over an hour per km because of the stokes basket stretcher and the mountainous terrain). That evening trainees set up a camp and spent the night in the mountains. The next morning they headed back to the training centre and finished with a debriefing the Friday morning.
“We were once again left with the reality of how physically demanding our jobs as rescuers can be as well as how physically and mentally prepared we need to be for whatever life throws at us” said Mr Emile Conrad a Senior Fire Fighter.