A mother comes running into Belhar’s fire station, her two-week-old baby not breathing. The firefighters jump into action, but they are worried. When it comes to resuscitating babies, the chances of success are slim. In fact, there does not seem to be any hope for little baby Bronlyn-Lee, except that firefighters never give up.
Baby Bronlyn-Lee Jansen had already turned a deathly blue. Using all the training and years of experience at their disposal, they cleared the mucus from her airways and starting administering oxygen. It has only been a few minutes, but after what seems like an eternity, Bronlyn-Lee starts to breathe. She regains her natural colour and to the relief of everyone, starts crying. Little Bronlyn-Lee is rushed to hospital and then safely back home.
Being able to save a life is enough of a reward for the men and women in a job that is filled with too much tragedy. During a 24 hour shift, they attend to veld fires, maternity cases, house fires, building fires, car accidents, assaults and shootings. In those 24 hours, they have to witness horrors that most people won’t see in a lifetime, and to make matter worse, they are often sworn at and sometimes assaulted. They are not angry however, because they know that their job is about giving without expecting anything in return. However, they are just normal people with family responsibilities and the stresses of having to pay the bills, so it is nice when someone says, ‘thank you’.
Two weeks after the incident, the grateful mom, Chantel Jansen, visited the fire station to thank the firefighters. Prior to her visit, firefighter Liesl George had already visited the mom at their home to make sure that the baby was fine. Liesl says that she just wanted to see baby Bronlyn-Lee “alive and kicking”.
In anticipation of Chantel’s visit, Liesl rallied all of the firefighters to collect money so that they can buy gifts in the form of baby clothes and other baby products. Overwhelmed by tears, mom Chantelle told the firefighters, “Thank you very much to those that never gave up hope to save my baby.”
Part of their training includes them having to console parents, but this time, the firefighters were thankful that they did not have to use it. “Usually, we don’t have good results with babies. We try our utmost and give our utmost support and expertise to the patient, and this time we were lucky to revive this baby. So there’s a good ending to this story,” said firefighter Alroy Pieterse.
Sometimes, when they are faced with a dangerous situation, the firefighters do not know if they will make it home to their families. They have to set aside this fear because putting their lives in danger to save others is what they do and giving up is not an option. Little baby Bronlyn-Lee is now almost six weeks old, and that’s because heroic firefighters, never give up.