All the excitement built up to Sunday, 1 November 2015 when South Africa’s emergency management services (EMS) personnel set a world record by pulling a 19 tonne, fully-loaded fire truck for 1,5km up a gradient of 2,109%, verified by Power Construction. A fun run/walk followed, and the evening ended with the registration of the teams participating in the different events over the course of the week.
The programmes on Monday and Tuesday were filled with the executive committee (EXCO) members meeting with international delegates. At the EXCO meeting on Tuesday, SAESI’s vice president, Melvin Ramlall, presented the new SAESI working group structure to EXCO members. This structure was unanimously approved by all members present. This means that the seven standing committees of the Institute have been re-aligned into four working groups. These working groups are:
- The Moderation and Accreditation working group;
- The Legal, Technical, Research and Development working group;
- The Events, Media and Marketing working group; and
- The Administration working group.
All the members of the previous seven standing committees have been absorbed into these working groups and these working groups will be responsible for the execution of SAESI’s day-to-day activities. All the positions within the working groups will be open for elections during the annual general meeting (AGM) to be held in 2017.
The question to be answered is: What does it mean to the members of the Institute, and what benefit does it holds for them?
With a more streamlined structure, decisions can be taken faster. Relevant activities, like marketing, sport events and media, are now coordinated by one working group. If we can use the sport activities of SAESI as an example, we will now have one working group dealing with the organisation of the sport event, the marketing of the event, and handling the media coverage of the event.
The first meeting between the coordinators of these working groups took place on 7-8 December 2015 at the Flamingo Casino. At this meeting, the finer details and working relationship between the working groups were finalised.
With the registration of SAESI as a professional body, we expect to see growth in the Institute as we never experienced before. More than 50% of all firefighters in South Africa, professional and voluntary, are not yet members of the Institute. As SAESI is the only recognised institute for the EMS in southern Africa, we need to have all firefighters and other emergency services personnel as members.