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International Firefighters Day marked by DEMS

William Ntladi, the DEMS media liaison officer, highlighted the significance of this day, recognising the sacrifices made by firefighters, both past and present.

On International Firefighters Day, William Ntladi, the DEMS media liaison officer, took the opportunity to delve into the illustrious history of firefighting, celebrating the bravery and dedication of firefighters worldwide.

Observed annually on May 4, the day serves as a global tribute to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect communities and the environment.

Ntladi highlighted the significance of this day, recognising the sacrifices made by firefighters, both past and present.

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“Firefighters dedicate their lives to safeguarding life, property, pets, and nature. Their unwavering commitment and selflessness deserve our utmost respect and gratitude,” said Ntladi.

Delving into the origins of firefighting, Ntladi traced its roots back to ancient Rome, where vigilant volunteers, known as vigils, patrolled towns and utilised primitive firefighting techniques, including the bucket brigade system and makeshift tools.

He underscored pivotal moments in firefighting history, such as the establishment of the world’s first organised municipal fire brigade in Edinburgh, Scotland, by James Braidwood in 1824.

Ntladi also highlighted significant milestones, including the deployment of the first steam fire engines by the Cincinnati Fire Department in 1853 and the subsequent advancements in firefighting technology.

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Despite the evolution of firefighting techniques and equipment, Ntladi emphasised the enduring dedication of firefighters to their job.

He shed light on the modern challenges faced by firefighters, including the need to stay abreast of emergency service training, adhere to building regulations, and maintain physical and mental fitness.

Ntladi also touched on the evolving role of firefighters, from traditional firefighting duties to encompassing a broader spectrum of responsibilities, such as ambulance work, equipment maintenance, and civil defence.

Looking ahead, Ntladi discussed ongoing advancements in firefighting technology, including the development of innovative equipment like ladders capable of reaching unprecedented heights.

He credited organisations like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Southern African Emergency Services Institute (SAESI) for their contributions to the profession’s development.

Amidst the solemn reflections on the sacrifices made by firefighters, Ntladi urged the community to recognise the inherent risks faced by first responders and to offer support and appreciation for their dedication.

As International Firefighters Day serves as a poignant reminder of the dangers inherent in firefighting, Ntladi emphasised the importance of mental well-being and counselling for firefighters, acknowledging the toll that rescue missions and traumatic incidents can take on their mental health.

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Ntladi reiterated the City of Ekurhuleni’s commitment to providing top-tier fire services to its residents, boasting 30 stations equipped to respond to emergencies.

He highlighted the city’s evolution in emergency response, from traditional bell-ringing systems to centralised call centers, ensuring swift and efficient deployment of resources.

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