For people working in the rescue services, it can be very difficult to convey the intensity of what they do to the general public. To them, working at all hours of the day and night under some of the most dangerous or traumatic conditions imaginable might be an accepted part of life, but it’s still very challenging for them, both physically and emotionally. Sometimes rescue workers wish other people could just come close to seeing and feeling what they do, in order to get them to understand and appreciate the work a bit better.
This is a wish that an undertaking like the Centrum Guardian Project helps to turn into reality. The project tries to bring to life real scenarios that our heroes in the rescue services have encountered, by recreating them and telling the stories in a way that people outside of the services can relate to. Nominations for the stories to be told are accepted from both the public and the colleagues of the personnel involved. The stories selected as finalists are then uploaded after production as YouTube videos, which are easily accessible for the public via www.centrumguardian.com.
At this point in time there is a sizeable collection of stories for people to sink their teeth into, as the project has been active since 2008 already. A wide range of gripping rescues are available for viewing, including such tense situations as a mine evacuation, various sea rescues, industrial accident responses, and daring fire fighting operations. Whichever branch of rescue is involved, one can be assured that the actions portrayed are heroic.
SAPAESA itself has proudly been supporting the Centrum Guardian Project for the last five years, by not only being part of the judging panel that helps to select the finalists from all of the submissions (we do have a lot of heroes in South Africa, after all), but also in promoting the project in the industry. Apart from exposure for heroic deeds, the project’s expansion has also resulted in number of the finalists being provided with free access to ongoing developmental training.
Recognition alone is a powerful incentive, but when you combine it with the incentive of helping these individuals to develop their job skills it means that not only are our rescue services getting a boost in their career goals, but they’re also being better empowered to look after the communities they operate in, creating an ‘everybody wins’ scenario.