Report Identifies Urgent Need for Fire and Rescue Personnel

While Namibia invests millions of dollars in infrastructure and other development a recent report indicates that there are little or no qualified and competent people to protect these investments from fire damage.

The report indicates that there is a high-level need for training for both active and future fire and rescue personnel, which existing training providers in Namibia cannot currently meet. Furthermore, the report emphasizes that provision of firefighting and rescue equipment and vehicles is marginal, if there are not enough personnel that are competent and equipped with the right skills to make good use of this equipment.

According to a needs assessment compiled by the Promotion of Vocational Education and Training in Namibia (ProVET), the future goal within this crucial services sector must be to expand the supply of training. “One possibility could be to enhance assistance for the existing and potentially new training providers in the field. In this regard, it should be the prime concern of the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) to support the institutions that want to increase their influx of trainees and are keen to offer training in line with the new national unit standards and qualifications,” states the report, which was prepared by Benedikt Coekoll last year.

The report mentions another possible, but arguably the most capital-intensive option, which would be the establishment of an academy that can provide fire and rescue training for full qualifications based on the NTA standards and, in the long-term, serve the national need for well-qualified and prepared firefighters and rescue personnel. “In the light of Namibia’s demographic dispersion and the large number of volunteers outside of Windhoek (who usually work in other jobs and mostly cannot be sent away for training for several days or weeks), it would appear extremely beneficial that a national institution could also provide many of the courses off their own premises. In addition to a fixed facility, one could think of mobile live fire and rescue training units (and, probably also necessary, mobile classroom trailers) to bring the training to the trainees,” suggests the report.

According to research conducted by ProVET, sites that would be suitable training grounds outside of Windhoek are available only in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Okahandja and Otjiwarongo. “A training business featuring mobile ‘satellites’ would have to make sure that such grounds with water supply (and possibly also a building for fire house simulations) can be made accessible in other towns, too,” reads the report.

Meanwhile, a Windhoek company called CampD Fire Consultants and Training Centre, says it is able to provide training in in fire, technical rescue, hazardous materials response and other emergency response services. What makes CampD unique is that they are able to provide on-site mobile training.

“We identified a need for a consultancy of this nature and when nothing was forthcoming from the market to address the shortcomings in the industry we established CampD,” said company director, Dirk Cloete.

Cloete is an experienced senior fire and rescue, hazardous materials and technical rescue training instructor and training manager. He has over 13 years of experience, seven of which he spent as senior instructor and training manager, respectively. Cloete also recently resigned as the Head of Training at the City of Windhoek’s Emergency Management Division.

“Unit standards and the development of a few qualifications, which are still in draft form, were developed by the NTA for various occupational fields including fire and rescue. Despite this focus and some first achievements, actual fire and rescue training provision in Namibia still remains very limited,” noted Cloete.

Source : New Era