Skid Units for TFPA

Francois Lötter from Northam demonstrates his homemade fire beater, made from an old fire hose and wooden handle.

THABAZIMBI – Skid units and other fire fighting equipment are being distributed in preparation of the approaching fire season. Since the establishment of the Thabazimbi Fire Protection Association (TFPA) in 2007, Thabazimbi District has been divided into sectors, each with its own satellite leader.

Amidst budget constraints each sector is gradually being equipped (by the Waterberg District Municipality) with fire fighting tools such as skid units, rakes, foam, shovels, fire beaters etc. Of farm owners it is required to ensure they comply with the Veld Fire Act. According to regulations farm owners are obliged to be in possession of at least the minimum required emergency equipment such as protective clothing, rakes, fire beaters and water units. Fire breaks must be made.

Extra supplies were however made available to each sector in case of runaway veld fires. Skid Units were distributed during March to Bagatla and Kromdraai, as well as foam, rakes, shovels and more to other sectors.

According to Renette Lategan, secretary of the TFPA, equipment is supplied according to each sector’s requirements. Budgetary constraints only allow for the gradual establishment of fully equipped sectors. Slowly but surely, however, a proper functioning and integrated system is being put into place.

Where runaway fires threaten land owners’ safety help is also available from the Municipal Fire Brigade, in some instances nearby mines, farmers’ organizations or even the police, such as the Police Training College. Working on Fire, a team of fire fighters based at Marakele National Park, is also a trained fire fighting unit.

Despite the fact that farmers are not obliged to join the local fire protection association, it is highly recommended. Members of the FPA, not only receive valuable information, but are also informed of their obligations, rights and responsibilities regarding fires on their properties.

Hennie Pauw