So reads the motto adopted by the Greater Overberg FPA (GO FPA) as it continutes to grow as organisation, increasing and improving its services to members.
The FPA was recently challenged when a wildfire swept through an area of 10 000ha in September. “It was an epic battle with 110 firefighters and private landowners, all fighting to protect infrastructure and livestock. The small coastal town, Infanta, and its surroundings was successfully defended,” says GO FPA Manager Louise Wessels.
Focal points for the upcoming fire season are the interaction with members at Fire Management Unit (FMU) level, training, communication and the strategic placement of firebreaks.
With the support and encouragement of local leaders GO FPA has facilitated a variety of FMU meetings to discuss risk mitigation strategies in case of a large fire.
“Thanks to the FynbosFire project we were able to offer the Basic Fire Suppression course to over 270 members and their staff over the last 3 months,” says Louise.
The GO FPA is also organising two ICS courses for our FMU leaders. The training will empower them to take better leadership at fires and to integrate more seamlessly with the Fire Brigade. “We are confident that these training opportunities will prove their worth during the upcoming fire season and beyond.”
Coordination and communication are some of the most critical services delivered by an FPA. To this end, GO FPA is building a presence on social media and endeavour to keep their members up-to-date about nearby fires through SMS notifications. With GEF FynbosFire funding, GO FPA was also able to purchase a satellite phone and satellite internet router, to assist in mountainous areas where cellphone reception is poor.
GO FPA is also running an ad campaign on local radio stations with regular interviews.