A supervised and controlled firebreak suddenly spread and wind conditions were such that the entire area suddenly faced a ravenous forest fire. In between the mountains, conditions seemed to converge in such a way that the ultimate firestorm was developing. It was up to the experience and knowledge of one man and his team to turn the situation around quickly. Using expert skill and strategic know-how Deon literally fought fire with fire!
1 January 2012, off duty fire fighter Hakeem Meyer and his family walk onto the beach where a panicked bather calls to them for help. Three German tourists had been swept away by a rip current and were in serious trouble. Meyer recovers the first victim, gives instructions to willing assistants and performs CPR while managing the scene and making arrangements for an emergency medical evacuation.
28 May 2011, fire fighters respond to a shack fire in the Lansdowne informal settlement. Battling stone throwing crowds, strong winds, towering flames, illegal electrical connections and exposed wires, fire fighter Jongikaya Nombakuse hears a faint cough from a shack. Leopard crawling, using a piece of wood as insulator, he reaches the shack to find an old man inside. He drags the man to safety and treats him. Nombakuse’s alertness and courage saves the old man’s life.
3 September 2011, Advanced Life Support Paramedic Wayne Broodryk responds to a motor vehicle accident – where a car is on fire. The severity of the flames prevents ambulance crew from approaching. On arrival, Broodryk grabs his protective jacket and gets into the car – only to discover that the patient’s legs are trapped under the dashboard. Broodryk uses all his strength to free the man from the raging fire.
10 January 2011 the Vaal River is in full flood and a fisherman is trapped in treacherous swift water. Matlosana Fire and Rescue crew respond. The force of the water causes severe damage to the rescue craft but the fire fighters don’t give up. They continue to navigate through maelstroms and fast flowing debris to reach the hypothermic and dehydrated patient. Their courage and dogged resolve saves the fisherman’s life.
6 March 2012, a one-year-old wanders off and falls into the swan pond by her house. After a frantic search her parents find her, floating face down in the water. Her uncle quickly calls for help. Neil Coetzer, an Intermediate Life Support Medic sets in motion a chain of events that saves the child’s life.
Three vagrant men create a makeshift shelter in an abandoned building. 23 August 2011, heavy rain causes flooding and the collapse of the concrete structure. Medical fire and rescue personnel work in wet, dark, difficult conditions and after hours of endurance, rescue one critical patient and recover the remaining two victims.
27 July 2011, on route to the scene, Shift D mentally prepares for an entrapment – but nothing could prepare them for what they found. A man was trapped in an industrial machine in a position that seemed impossible. After three hours and resourceful interventions, the man is extricated and airlifted in a critical but stable condition.
18 December 2011, Carey Glover’s first real day on active lifesaver duty. Her squad leader is busy pointing out a sandbank and the dangers it poses to unsuspecting people, when 5 bathers show clear signs of distress. The squad leader and second lifesaver rushes to assist. Carey must make a decision – run and call for help or follow and be the back up. Carey’s initiative saves more than one life that day.
7 December 2011, Shift B responds to a grass fire on a smallholding. On arrival fire fighters call for back up as the veldt fire was in fact burning in a scarp yard. When gas cylinders explode, and crew are injured, Bennie van der Wath’s instinct kicks in to save a fellow crew member.
3 March 2012, a dog viciously attacks a 3-year old boy. A good samaritan witnesses the attack and drives the child to the closest fire station where a team of fire fighters spring into action to treat the child. Putting aside the emotional horror, the team treat and medicate the critical child handing him over in a stable condition.
6 September 2011, after several failed interventions, two stowaway detection officers lay unconscious in the cargo hold of a ship. The load of damp woodchips set off a toxic gas combination of carbon monoxide and methane making the area extremely dangerous. Advanced Life Support Paramedic Richard Schouten, kitted with his high angle rescue equipment, applies skill and experience to save the life of one officer and recover the second victim.
5 January 2012, NSRI rescue swimmer Torsten Henschel responds to a drowning in progress. Due to the fierce power of the rip current, several rescue attempts fail and Henschel knows he has only one chance to reach the boy. His focus and stamina drives him to brave the water and save the 15-year-old’s life.
23 November 2011, Advanced Life Support Paramedic Shawn Webb and Officer Graham Waghorn are informed of an accident close-by. Calling for back up while responding, they arrive to find a car in the river next to the highway, underwater and sucked into the mud. The occupants float lifelessly inside the flooded vehicle. The crew’s quick response, sheer strength and early medical intervention save the lives of both father and daughter.
A cumec is the flow of one cubic meter (1000 litres) of water per second. Between 1-50 cumecs can wash a person away. Between 50-100 cumecs can wash a car away. The lower Sabie River was flowing at 6,500 cumecs on 18 January 2012. This was the result of tropical storm Dando that hit the Low-veld when approximately half a meter of rain fell within the space of 12 hours. Thousands of people were affected, hundreds faced danger and millions of Rands worth of damage was caused. A sustained, coordinated and precise rescue operation by various South African agencies saves many lives in a world-class emergency response.
16 October 2011, fire fighter Claassen is driving home after his shift and witnesses the dust cloud of an accident just happened. The car landed some 400 meters into the swamp and Claassen can see a young child presumed trapped by the car. He wades into the muddy swamp, pulls the boy out of the mud and makes his way back to dry land where he performs CPR. That day, Claassen’s dogged tenacity saves the child’s life.
17 September 2011, fire fighters respond to a block of flats on fire. The 5-storey building is filled with smoke, with flames raging from a shop on the ground floor. People are standing at the windows, ready to jump. The 5-man crew split up, some attacking the fire while others find a way in to rescue the trapped residents. After a gruelling ordeal, the team safely evacuate more than forty residents.
Thursday, 19 July 22:10
Friday, 20 July 10:00
Introduction to the Centrum® Guardian Project 2012
Thursday, 26 July 22:10
Friday, 27 July 10:00
Determination: Drowned 1-Year-Old Resuscitated, and
Brave: Burning Car Extrication.
Thursday, 2 August 22:10
Friday, 3 August at 10:00
Vigour: Flat Fire Evacuation,
and Strength: Submerged Car in River Rescue.
27 Mar George Herald, 19 February 2013
GEORGE NEWS FLASH – Three George lifesavers have entered the 2013 Centrum Guardian Project. Th...
27 Mar Mossel Bay Advertiser, 12 February 2013
Nomination forms can be downloaded from the website www.centrumguardian.com and must be submitted by...
A large team of passionate and committed people make the Centrum® Guardian Project possible.
Welcome to the Centrum® Guardian Project, where we recognise the people in the South African Emergency Services: Fire Fighters, Rescue Technicians, Paramedics, Lifeguards, Off-Road and Sea Rescue volunteers… We seldom think about these people. Until they hold our lives in their hands - then everything depends on their skill and dedication.
This year we showcase 16 Semi-Finalists, exceptional men and women in the emergency services who gave 100% to save lives. In every case, they were the only hope and without their daring commitment, all of their stories would have had very different endings.... click here to read the stories and vote.
We invite South Africans to vote for the men and women who inspire them to live life at 100%. Public votes will determine who will be awarded the title “Centrum® Guardian of the Year 2012” and, proceeds from SMS votes will be donated to the base station of the Guardian voted for.
Over the next three months you can share in the heart-stopping action as the teams fight to save lives. Watch Centrum® Guardians 2012 on SABC 3 Thursdays at 22h10 from 19th July with repeat broadcasts on Fridays at 10h00.