With the majority of fire stations around the country being crippled by a lack of resources to offer effective responses, Fidelity Fire Solutions, a division of the Fidelity Services Group, is stepping into the forefront of fire safety with a unique own ‘first responder’ model, Fidelity SecureFire.
The service is already available in Johannesburg and Tshwane as of 1 August and includes a fire chief and 55 fully trained firefighters on standby 24/7.
Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group says just this month the group has had to respond to 35 fires, 78% of which were in the Tshwane area and 21,6% in the Johannesburg area.
Fidelity ADT armed response officers will also be ‘first responders’ as part of this critical new service. These first responder vehicles are certified for Level one and two firefighting and are equipped with fire-fighting packs called the Roto Pack Lithium Gel and FFG Gel, which provide a reach of nine to 12 metres.
The three-pronged model will fully equip these firefighters to manage Class A and B fires involving ordinary combustible materials, flammable liquids, or gasses like gasoline and oil. These fires can be particularly dangerous due to their potential for rapid flame spread. “We will also be able to attend to Class D fires with our Lithium extinguishers for fires caused by electronic devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets and, of course, electric vehicles. These fires are unfortunately becoming more common with our ongoing loadshedding schedule impacting appliances.”
The community will now have access to 350 first responders and 10-second responders comprising Mahindra and Land Cruiser RIVs. The service is reinforced by rapid intervention units comprising six-plus fire engines, water tankers and pumps to supply water.
With one large 18 000 litre tank on site already, the plan is to get another large tanker as well as two smaller ones with a 9 000 litre capacity. “One of the key challenges experienced in our existing municipal structures is the lack of water in the fire hydrants, so even if the response is on time, they may be hamstrung with no water.”
“Fidelity SecureFire will be able to respond effectively to large fires, all domestic household fires, small to medium commercial fires and fires at shopping centres, schools or churches. “Basically, wherever the danger is and where our customers and/or their property are in harm’s way due to a fire, they can rely on us being their first line of defence,” says Bartmann.
Bartmann emphasised that the service would in no ways be competing with the existing fire service. In fact, it would complement and support their efforts and the teams will work very closely with the existing fire departments. “Our target is to reach any fire within five minutes,” he says.
Roll-out will commence in KwaZulu-Natal in December 2023 and then in Cape Town between April – June 2024, followed by the balance of areas where Fidelity operate.
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