Veld Firefighting Equipment in South Africa
With its tendency towards drought and open planes of dry grass, South Africa is very vulnerable to veld fires. This can be detrimental to farmers and the country’s economy. Our economy greatly benefits from the exporting of our produce; however, veld fires can destroy an entire crop in a day. This can also affect our country’s own food supply which inevitably raises food prices and further encourages poverty and the malnourishment that is already a problem in South African communities.
In this article, we will discuss the danger of veld fires and how farmers can prepare for the worst.
Veld fires are extremely dangerous and destructive. They can burn up entire crops, destroy grazing fields, and injure or cause the death of cattle. This can be detrimental to farmers and can even cause a farmer’s bankruptcy after one bad burn. Fighting these fires is just as dangerous, as trained professionals and locals have received bad burns and in some cases even died due to veld fires. It is therefore very important to ensure that farmers are protected against these disasters and receive the needed support.
Though there are fire stations and firefighting staff that should arrive at the scene shortly after logging a report, it has been said that response time in rural areas is slow. It has also been said that there are not enough firefighters to effectively control and stop a fire from wreaking havoc once it has been lit. Due to this problem, groups such as the FPA (Fire Protection Association) have been created to assist in the prevention and fighting of fires in rural areas. It is advisable for farmers to apply preventative measures such as fire breaks. Farmers should also invest in their own firefighting equipment to ensure that they keep the fire under control and can fight the fire while waiting for the fire brigade and FPA to arrive.
When preparing to protect your farm from veld fires, it is imperative to ensure that you have the necessary equipment to ensure that you can fight a fire effectively and safely. Some of the basic equipment you should invest in includes:
It is important to invest in gear such as a fire helmet, fire hoods, gloves, boots, and a bag to store your gear in for easy and quick access to your kit. The gear you opt for should be specifically designed and manufactured for firefighting. This is because special materials are utilised to ensure that you are protected from the heat and smoke you will be faced with at the scene. For example, ordinary boots and gloves could melt or catch on fire as fire-resistant materials arent typically used to manufacture normal clothing items.
Specially manufactured tools such as a pick point axe, an entry tool, and a beam pole are useful when needing to get through doors and help people or animals out of a building that might have caught alight due to the veld fire. If you are preparing by performing controlled burns then a drip torch will be useful to ensure that you direct the fire to where it needs to burn.
It is advisable to invest in a firefighting trailer that has been fitted with everything you need to fight or at least try and contain a veld fire until help arrives. Some of the features you can expect to find on a firefighting trailer include a motor, a ceramic piston pump, a hose reel that has been fitted with a jet and fog nozzle, a tank, a suction hose, a brake axel, and a brake coupler.
You can also opt to install a fire fighting unit on your bakkie so that you may easily arrive at and fight the fire. A bakkie fire fighting unit will typically be powered by petrol. It should also come with a high-pressure hose, aluminium hose reels, and lances with angle nozzles.
HWFPS is a company that distributes all of the firefighting equipment you could possibly require to protect your farm from veld fires. Visit the AgrifoodSA directory to find out more about HWFPS and how they can assist you in finding the equipment you require.