Practice makes perfect

Rouxnelle Kilian-Russell cares for Shakierah Stemmet.

There is something comforting about knowing that should things go wrong, there are caring, dedicated, experienced volunteers out there who are trained to know what to do.

From Atlantis to Fish Hoek volunteers from Disaster Risk Management put their skills to the test by competing against each other on Saturday October 22.

With 460 people offering their services, it is the largest volunteer-based disaster risk service in the country.

Held at the Alphen Centre in Constantia, the competition included two parts, a First Aid scenario and fire-fighting component.

In the hall, 14 teams of four were given a scenario where a man is up a tree cutting branches with a chainsaw.

He falls and goes into cardiac arrest. Meanwhile, the ladder falls onto one of the workers, causing a head injury while another worker has a gash on her arm.

Three judges from the paramedic field then assessed the team’s casualty assessment and stabilisation, evacuation and documentation.

The winning team in the First Aid section was Mitchell’s Plain, followed by Fish Hoek A in second place with Plumstead Ottery taking third place.

Meanwhile, outside, teams were given a fire-fighting scenario where they had to set up a hydrant point, run out three lengths of hose and hit a target with the correct nozzle, setting and then roll up all hoses and securing all items. The winning team in the fire-fighting category was Fish Hoek B with Fish Hoek A as runner-up and Mitchell’s Plain taking third place.

John Bayly Brown, head of the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management Centre, said volunteers receive training in First Aid, basic fire-fighting, and traffic warden skills, among others.

“The training enables them to assist in disasters such as the big veld fire last March, and to assist injured people and to protect them or property from danger or potential danger,” said Mr Brown.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith came for the prize-giving and commended the volunteers for getting involved and “being the change you want to see.”