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Gauteng emergency services teams put skills, fitness to the test

Firefighters going through the ropes. Picture: Supplied

Firefighters going through the ropes. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 2, 2023


Pretoria - Gauteng emergency services teams came together at the Dräger Fire Combat and Rescue Challenge in Midrand to put their skills and fitness to the test.

These ranged from simulated fire rescue trials to demanding physical tests in a series of individual and group challenge.

Nick Berry, a Netcare 911 rescue officer who participated in the event, said efficient teamwork in emergency rescue situations was essential for achieving better outcomes and required strong communication skills, problem-solving capabilities and high levels of physical fitness.

“In fire rescue situations, responders to a scene may be required to climb ladders, gain access to a building through windows, work their way through thick smoke with poor visibility and other challenging scenarios, all while wearing heavy protective equipment, to reach individuals in need of assistance,” Berry said.

Firefighters Nick Berry and Wimpie van Onselen ensure that the officers stay fit. Picture: Supplied

He said that emergency medical teams on the ground were also required to work as a team with firefighters and other emergency services to achieve the best and safest possible outcomes for patients and rescuers alike.

Berry said they worked in high-pressure and often unpredictable environments.

“In addition to foundational knowledge and skills, adaptability and physical fitness are essential for all emergency services personnel,” he said.

Firefighting calls for staying on top of things. Picture: Supplied

Wimpie van Onselen, the emergency and rescue services business field manager for Dräger, said that physical fitness in any emergency was key to ensuring that responders have the necessary endurance to work at a fast pace and maintain a clear mind when doing critical work.

“It is encouraging and motivating to see the high level of capabilities demonstrated when emergency services teams come together to highlight key components of what it takes to be a professional in the field of emergency rescue,” Berry said.

He congratulated colleagues from across the province for their commendable conduct and achievements during the challenge.

Pretoria News