Cape Town - A residential fire is a homeowner’s worst nightmare as damage to property is often total, and the safety of loved ones and pets can be in jeopardy.
As we are in the festive season, more electricity and fire will be used for a variety of reasons such as: cooking, baking, candle-lighting, and fireworks. Therefore, it’s important to take note of tips to stay protected against fire.
The City reminds residents to be aware of the risks of fire and to take the necessary precautions.
According to the City’s Mayco member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, most fires occur due to negligence or intoxication. Last year the City launched its R150 million Community Residential Units (CRU) repair initiative with the National Housing Finance Corporation, which is primarily focusing on the repairs to fire-damaged units across the metro.
The programme has made great strides and the repairs are ongoing. Many fires can be prevented if we take the necessary precautions.
The following are fire safety tips to protect you and your family:
Keep a close eye on open flames while cooking. Never leave a flame or fire unattended.
Don’t start a fire when you are tired or intoxicated.
Make sure candles are secure and can't fall over. Place your candle in a container filled with sand, so that when it falls over, the sand extinguishes the flame
Teach your family and children about the dangers of fire.
Make sure cigarette butts are put out properly before disposing of them.
Be aware of the dangers of illegal electricity connections, which also cause fires. Electricity tampering can also lead to fires starting. Illegal electricity connections are a major contributor to fires in the City’s rental stock.
“Open flames must be watched and we cannot leave fires unattended. We are encouraging residents to protect themselves and their neighbours by observing basic fire-prevention strategies, such as keeping a watch over open flames; keeping a bucket of sand at hand as a first defence should a candle fall over, and mounting a candle in a can with sand to enhance safety.
“Residents who will be away for an extended period during the holidays should please inform the City’s informal settlement management department of their travels, and update their contact details with us, so that the City has their information on record,’’ said Booi.
If a fire breaks out and it looks like it will get out of hand, please call the City’s public emergency communications centre immediately by dialling 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.
The City’s Mayco member for safety and security, alderman JP Smith, said ‘’the City’s disaster risk-management teams are active on the ground and will continue to spread awareness about fire-prevention and help to educate residents about the ways they can enhance safety.
“This is a team effort. Reducing the risks of fires is a task that can only be achieved when we all work together,’’ Smith said.
Residents are advised to make sure they give the correct address and if possible, a landmark nearby, like a shop or school. Residents should not wait for too long before reporting fires, as they can spread very quickly.