Michele du Plessis
In a previous GPS News edition, an article featured the plight of a Spar employee after her shack in the informal settlement burnt down. Spar Graskop and Spar Sabie decided to empower their staff that lived in the informal settlements with the necessary skills of basic fire fighting.
“As a result, we decided on basic fire fighting training for all our staff both at Graskop and Sabie SPAR, who lived in shacks. As part of a community project, we also invited 20 members of the community who live in shacks to attend the training, at no cost to them. Sixteen staff members from Graskop SPAR, and eleven from Sabie SPAR, as well as ten community members each from Graskop and Sabie, attended the training on the 26th of June 2019,” Gail du Randt, manager at Graskop Spar said.
Anthony from Siyamisana Training Consultants PTY Ltd, Middelburg, conducted the one-day Basic Fire Fighting Training. The training included the following subjects:
- Combustion and what leads to combustion
- The transmission of heat
- Classification of fires: Things that boil; Things that turn to ash; Anything that carries current.
- Causes of fires: Heating appliances; Cooking procedures; Smoking materials; Electrical distribution; Electrical appliances; Combustible or flammable liquids.
Fire prevention at home included the following points of advice:
- Never leave pans of fat/oil unattended while cooking
- Do not run wiring under carpets
- Keep flammable liquids in tins, not in bottles, clearly mark them
- Turn off gas and electricity when not in use
- Never smoke in bed
- Do not leave small children alone at home
- Keep matches and fireworks away from children
- Ensure garden hose/bucket of water is readily available
- Plan a fire escape drill with your family
Methods of extinguishing fires: Starvation, smothering and cooling.
The training also included fire/emergency procedures and the contact numbers for the police and Emergency Medical Services.
“All the Spar staff that attended the training, stays in the informal settlements. They said that the learned quite a lot and that they will be able to help and inform others,” Gail said. ”We are constantly training our staff. We believe in empowering our staff and promoting them in the company.
Rachel Mohalala, my Assistant Manager, is a good example. She started as a butchery cleaner, work her way to Front End Supervisor, then to Service Department Supervisor. She is my right hand. Rachel did all the training and strives for more. All that you need is passion and hard work. We have identified other staff members that will be promoted,” Gail said.
Gail concluded that Spar is always on the look-out for community projects. “Where we can make a difference, we will try our best to do that.”