It is crucial for companies to have staff do basic firefighter course training and to have the correct equipment available for use, e.g., portable fire extinguishers, fire hose reels, and fire blankets. Early warning systems like smoke and heat detectors as well as sprinkler systems are valuable tools in the fight against fire.
Fire is one of the most destructive forces on earth, not only causing millions of rands of damage each year but also costing lives and devastating injuries.
This poses a question now, to what level must companies train their firefighters? What do you look for in a basic firefighter course requirements? Well, there is no easy answer, but there are a few aspects that will help us to decide.
Absolute Health Services offers two firefighter training courses, a basic firefighter course and an advanced firefighter course. Both firefighting courses have their place in the workplace, and which course would be the correct one will depend on a few things.
What is a basic firefighter course?
The basic firefighter course prepares workplace firefighters to deal with small fires and to detect the fire early enough to safely extinguish it. The basic firefighter course explains to the students what a fire is, how the fire spreads and how to safely find and attack a fire. The course teaches students how to operate various types of fire extinguishers, fire hose reels and fire blankets. The safety of the workplace firefighter is dealt with at length, and should the fire be too big or be spreading quickly, the workplace firefighter will activate the fire alarm, close doors and windows to slow down the fire spread, and evacuate with the rest of the staff. Workplace firefighters having done this course will attempt to fight the fire without any personal protective equipment, and obviously will not be able to fight a big or fast spreading fire.
What is advanced firefighting training?
The advanced firefighting course deals with bigger and fast spreading fires. The training includes the use of personal protective equipment like fire tunics, bunker pants, helmets, flash hoods and fire boots. This course also includes the use of bigger fire hoses that can be connected to a fire hydrant. Bigger hoses mean higher pressures and the students will be trained how to handle these bigger hoses and how to advance these hose lines safely and effectively to the fire. Students will also be trained in how to operate the nozzle (the branch) effectively as this is crucial to effective firefighting. Dangerous and life-threatening situations that develop into big fires like flashovers or back draughts are also dealt with.
What is the difference between basic firefighting courses and advanced firefighting courses?
The basic firefighter course is recommended for smaller companies where the fire load in the building is smaller and there generally is no hazardous materials like flammable liquids, gases or other materials that can cause rapid fire spread or explosions. This course is well suited for most offices and smaller warehouses or even workshops. Fires will normally be discovered quickly in these premises and the smaller fire load and absence of hazardous materials should enable the workplace firefighter to extinguish the fire quickly and safely.
The advanced firefighting course is designed for bigger companies with bigger fire loads and the possibility of hazardous materials being present on the premises. Bigger warehouses, workshops, fuel depots and factories etc. will benefit from this course. These companies often invest in firefighting personal protective equipment for the fire team as well as bigger fire hoses, 38mm, 45mm or 65mm and nozzles (branches), and depending on the company’s fire risk profile, may include self-contained breathing apparatus.
Why is advanced firefighting training important?
The advanced firefighting course will equip the advanced workplace firefighter to deal with bigger and fast spreading fires effectively and safely.
Both firefighting courses deal with the implementation of fire prevention programs in the workplace, recognizing and reporting hazardous situations, safe storage of hazardous materials, implementing good house-keeping rules etc. Both courses also deal with evacuations, evacuation procedures and the roles and responsibilities of the emergency teams in the workplace.
We are of the firm opinion that the best way to extinguish a fire is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Absolute Health Services makes use of experienced and suitably qualified firefighters to present these courses. Our firefighting course fees are R750.00 for basic and R 1 650.00 for advanced per person.
The students will receive proper hands-on training and instruction on their respective courses (basic or advanced) by a team of highly experienced and energetic firefighters. This will ensure that the workplace firefighter is prepared and able to take on fires in the workplace and feels confident in his ability to do so. Fighting any fire is a high-risk activity and proper training and self-confidence is vital for the workplace firefighter to carry out this function successfully and safely.
The cost of sending employees on fire training pales compares to the cost of a fire destroying a business. History has shown that businesses often don’t recover from such a loss and that means a loss of jobs as well.
A firefighter is only as good as his training is, and an investment in proper training is an investment in your business and in the lives of your employees.