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NSRI STRANDFONTEIN NOW RECRUITING:According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), volunteering can make a huge contribution to solving South Africa’s environmental and social problems, while also positively influencing quality of life. With this in mind, NSRI Strandfontein – our local Sea Rescue charity, who respond to Sea Rescue emergencies from Muizenberg to Macassar – will host their first-ever open-recruitment day this Saturday, 6 September in a bid to train more qualified crew to protect and uplift the disadvantaged communities they serve.The call for new recruits comes just weeks after one of NSRI Strandfontein’s crew was officially awarded the Silver Gallantry Award, one of the highest awards given to a serving volunteer, at the National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) AGM last month. A qualified rescue swimmer and the youngest recipient of this prestigious award, 23 year old Robin Fortuin tirelessly worked to single-handedly save the lives of six swimmers in Monwabisi last December. This rescue also highlights the need for Sea Rescue in these communities, particularly since the Medical Research Council point out that children from poor communities are most at risk of drowning.NSRI Strandfontein has been responding to emergencies and serving their surrounding communities since 1971. The men and women who volunteer for Sea Rescue come from all walks of life, with ages ranging from 16 to 75, and includes school pupils, university students, working family-men and -women, and even retirees hailing from within and around their community, but also as far as Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats and Brackenfell in the Northern Suburbs.Station Commander, Mario Fredericks says that there is an urgent need to develop more qualified volunteer personnel at the Strandfontein base, which currently has 16 fully trained crew and 8 trainees, but still needs at least 21 more fully-trained crew in order to function optimally – particularly as we prepare for more beachgoers as summer swiftly approaches.“In this dynamic environment, training is geared to ensure that each and every crew member is fully-equipped to respond to any number of emergency situations - on sea and land - whether it’s in the dead of night or in the cold of winter. This service requires commitment, passion and the willingness to consistently report for duty in order to develop these skills,” says Fredericks.Fredericks, who started out at NSRI Strandfontein in 2005 took the reins as Station Commander in 2010.The skills developed at NSRI Strandfontein include a range of emergency skills, such as fire training and first-aid, boat exercises and rescue simulations and also safe off-road driving skills.“Volunteering is a great way to increase knowledge and skills and develop a sense of responsibility and community awareness. Once fully trained, crew members will be proficient in skills such as Advanced First Responders and can further develop into rescue coxswains (skippers) to name a few.”“While recruitment activities will focus primarily on the physical aspects of the job, such as swimming abilities, testing response to high-stress situations and endurance tests, the training programme is also geared to develop the crew’s mental and reasoning skills - to help hone decision-making in often fast-paced emergency situations,” he says.However, this volunteer role is not all physical. There are duties that require more sophisticated skills and are therefore also suitable for older folk or those with disabilities. Positions such as managing the control room or looking after station administration, require precision, attention to detail and the ability to focus for often extended periods of time.NSRI crew are on duty at the station every Sunday (with alternating crews) and are regularly on standby to assist with activities happening in the bay. The position offers great flexibility and each crew member is responsible for their own development.So, if the idea of rescuing people on land and sea or navigating your crew to safety gets you going, come try out to join the crew of NSRI Strandfontein on 6 September 2014 @ 7 AM.For more information or to pre-register, contact NSRI Strandfontein Station Commander Mario Fredericks on station16@searescue.org.za or visit the NSRI Strandfontein – Station 16 Facebook page.strandfontein
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