On Saturday 9 March, IkamvaYouth in partnership with Capitec presented a fire safety awareness workshop hosted by Mrs Nombeko Kopele (Public Education Officer) from the fire and rescue services in Ottery, Cape Town. In December 2012, close to a 1000 shacks burnt down in Khayelitsha with countless people being displaced and with winter approaching, a time when the risks of fires increase, it was an opportune time to educate our learners about the dangers that fires pose, but also give them tips on how to avoid these fires.

The presentation were in two parts, first with the grade 10, 11 and 12s and then with the grade 8 and 9s. The reason for this split was because different aspects were discussed with the different age groups. Although the main focus of the workshop was fire safety awareness, it also allowed the presenter to speak to the older kids about the different careers within fire and rescue. This was very exciting for the ikamvanites because they found out that the training to become a fire fighter or paramedic is only 6 months and that it was really physical. They had a lot of questions to ask and the presenter was very knowledgeable and answered all their questions. Lwazi Fanana, a grade 11 learner, said afterwards that he might consider a career in the fire and rescue field. Another learner Sipho Nqgayimbana, grade 12, asked about the different careers within the fire and rescue fields and the presenter said that careers vary from administration, management, medical to paramedical and firefighting, etc., and that there are lots of skills shortages in this career field and with that a lot of opportunities for young people to join.

For the younger grades, the focus were more on fire prevention tips, what to do in case of a fire or burn injuries and who to contact when you see a fire. The session with them were more interactive and the ikamvanites were able to simulate scenarios, like rolling on the ground when you catch fire, and were shown charts of what to do. All the ikamvanites were told where their closest fire station is and were told to call 107 or 0215901900 in case of a fire or any other emergency. Everyone had a lot of questions for Mrs Kopele and as with the other group; she was able to answer every question.

We would like to thank the City of Cape Town and in particular Mrs Nombeko Kopele and Mr Abdusalaam Allie, Capitec and everyone that assisted with this workshop.