Jason Codd, our VP Services based out of Cape Town is a keen Amateur Radio (HAM) enthusiast, as well as an avid off road driver. Through his radio associations he is part of a volunteer organization called Hamnet, the Amateur Radio National Emergency Communications division. Hamnet provides communications for emergencies and can mobilize experienced communicators who with their own radio equipment will back up official channels or take over when all else fails.
Those of you familiar with Cape Town’s scenic splendor will also know that this is in large part due to the mountains and wilderness areas which are popular with the full range of visitors, from casual day walkers to experience mountaineers. Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) was formed to assist these visitors when things go wrong, and Hamnet is involved in providing communications and logistical support to WSAR.
As a volunteer member, Jason may be called out at any time to provide logistical support, which may range from running communications for an operation and maintaining the relevant logs, through to ferrying personnel or equipment into the field or establishing and controlling helicopter landing zones for airborne evacuations.
Even with relatively simple rescue operations, these may take a couple of hours, with more complex ones extending over days. It is not unusual to spend the full night in the mountains, as often the activation calls will only occur near sunset when overdue parties are reported missing.
Furthermore, many weekends are taken up with training exercises to ensure that procedures are kept polished.
With the nature of RTS’ global staffing, Jason is able to use flexible working hours to accommodate both work functions and rescue assistance, although there are some times when volunteering is simply not possible. Fortunately, the very nature of the WSAR structure recognizes this, and with a pool of available volunteers, there are very few instances where no support is provided.
Whilst there is no such thing as a typical rescue, the most common are people who are unprepared for the mountains. The weather in the Cape changes very quickly, and trail difficulty is underestimated. The most common incidents are therefore those who are ill prepared for a trail, either through lack of clothing or water, or are not physically fit enough for chosen routes.
This is followed by those who get lost or mildly injured on trails, but this can also escalate into serious injuries, or even in the worst cases, death.
This year’s closing statement by the Hamnet Western Cape Director pretty much sums up what it is that Jason is involved with: “Remember that opportunities to help our fellow beings in times of need and disaster, take no holidays, so I ask that you remain vigilant and prepared to assist in whatever way you can”
Employee of the Month
Continuing from the past editions of the newsletter, this section highlights our commitment to recognize talent and significant contribution of RTS team members under "RTS Employee of the Month" initiative. During the second half of 2016 - Mr. Gourav Saini, Mr. Sanjeev Kumar, Mr. Raviesh, Mrs. Neha, Mr. Neeraj Kumar & Mr. Anish were recognised as Employee of Month for July, August, September, October, November & December 2016 months respectively. The "RTS Employee of the Month" initiative has been instrumental in providing a competitive streak to the RTS employees to raise the bar and the respective twelve winners for this award for Year 2016 says it all.