With the 2014/2015 festive season approaching, the Eden District Emergency Services under leadership of Mr Gerhard Otto together with various role-players including, representatives from the B-municipalities in the Eden district, the Southern Cape Fire Protection Agency (SCFPA), Working On Fire (WOF), San Parks, Cape Pine and Cape Nature were involved in discussions to ensure that their contingency plans are updated to be ready for the summer season.
These discussions took place on Thursday, 4 December 2014 at Eden’s Disaster Management Centre (EDMC). The topics focussed on the standard protocols to be adhered to when fighting bush- and veldt fires, as well as the placement of runways and the minimum standards for these runways.
Mr. Mike Assad from the Forest Fire Association (FFA) informed the meeting that if runways could be placed not more than 50 kilometres apart this would contribute to the efficiency of the aerial bombers. However, the municipalities’ main concern was the funding factor – where the funding will come from to bring such runways up to standard. Alternatives to fund the maintenance of these runways are currently looked at. Most of these runways belong to private landowners and a municipality cannot dictate to a landowner what to do on his/her land.
Presentations were done by pilots Mr Francois Weyers and Mr Mike Assad from the FFA. Mr Assad commended all role-players for their valuable inputs and the type of questions that they posed as to ensure that future challenges could be addressed.
At the event, Mr Otto also distributed Eden’s Seasonal Contingency Master Plan to all role-players. The document is valid for the period 1 December 2014 to 30 April 2015.
This comprehensive and vital plan contains information such as contact- and standby information of all relevant role-players such as Emergency Services from the B-Municipalities in the district, San Parks, Cape Pine, Working on Fire, Southern Cape Fire Protection Association, etc. It also includes information on the available resources that will be utilized throughout the season.
After the discussions, the George WOF team entertained the participants with a fire drill at Eden’s George based Fire Station, to show-off their readiness for the season.