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City ensures extra hands on deck to fight fires<figure class="figure-credits right"><img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" style="width:576px;" /><figcaption> <p>© City of Cape Town</p> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service has today brought 92 additional firefighters into the fold to help fight fires over summer.</p><p>The warmer months generally see an increase in the number of fires – particularly veld fires. The employment of seasonal firefighters is one of a number of measures implemented to ensure that the City’s Fire and Rescue Service is equipped to deal with this increase.</p><p>The group going on active duty from today includes 57 seasonal firefighters and 35 learner firefighters. From 2 January 2017, 63 additional seasonal firefighters will be ready to join the frontline. <br></p><blockquote cite=""><p> <em>​​​​"Of the new learner firefighters, 14 were previously seasonal firefighters and it is heart-warming to see them advance their careers and achieve permanent employment. Other seasonal staff have indicated that they have every intention of applying for current vacancies. It’s also apparent that firefighting is definitely in the blood of some of these officers as we have seen several proud second- or third-generation firefighters among the learners."</em>​ <b>Alderman JP Smith</b><cite>City Mayoral Committee Member: Safety and Security</cite></p></blockquote> <figure class="figure-credits left"><img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" style="width:405px;" /><figcaption> <p>© City of Cape Town</p> </figcaption> </figure> <p>In addition to the extra human resources, the Fire and Rescue Service has also secured the services of two helicopters and a spotter plane to assist with aerial firefighting, as well as four bush tenders. These are smaller, more mobile fire trucks with 4x4 capabilities to allow access to veld areas and informal settlements (pictured).</p><p>In the case of wildfires, other firefighting resources such as Table Mountain National Parks, has contracted firefighting crews from Working on Fire and has assistance from the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS).</p><p>All agencies work together on wildfires in the Table Mountain National Park area, and the VWS and Working on Fire crews are available for the northern and eastern areas of the city that work under the auspices of Cape Nature and other municipalities.</p> <figure class="figure-credits right"><img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" style="width:490px;" /><figcaption> <p>© City of Cape Town</p> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Between November 2015 and April 2016, the City’s Fire and Rescue Service responded to 9 983 fires. Nearly 80% (7 845) of incidents were classified as bush, grass or rubbish fires. In terms of residential fires, the breakdown is outlined below:</p> <ul><li>Fires at formal premises: 696</li><li>Fires at informal premises: 717</li><li>Formal units affected: 569</li><li>Informal units affected: 3 981</li><li>Deaths (formal): 9</li><li>Deaths (informal): 32</li></ul><p>‘Cape Town’s summer is characterised by high temperatures and of course the south-easterly wind, which makes firefighting a very difficult job indeed. It doesn’t help when one considers that many fires can be prevented. We have done more than 900 fire safety interventions this year, but for some the penny just never drops. Most of the fires in informal settlements at this time of year are caused by substance abuse-related negligence. On the other hand, you have the pyromaniacs who come out to play, setting alight large tracts of vegetation. We’ve had our hands full in the South Peninsula in particular in the last two years. Our firefighters take enormous strain during summer and I commend them for a job well done every single time,’ added Alderman Smith. </p> The City appeals to residents to do their bit to help prevent fires or mitigate the impact of fires this summer by implementing the following safety measures: <br><br> <ul><li>Steer clear of illegal electrical connections<br></li><li>Switch off plugs and appliances when not in use<br></li><li>Do not leave stoves or paraffin appliances unattended and make sure they’re on a flat surface<br></li><li>Keep children away from stoves, candles and matches and teach them about the dangers of fire<br></li><li>Do not smoke in bed<br></li><li>Make sure candles or other flammable appliances are extinguished or switched off when going to bed<br></li><li>Build dwellings a good distance (at least 3 m) apart to prevent fires from spreading. Make sure this space is kept open<br></li><li>Keep roads and access to dwellings clear at all times<br></li><li>Do not block roads with possessions when there is a fire<br></li><li>Do not prevent or disrupt the work of fire crews fighting fires<br></li></ul><p>Fires can be reported to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling <a>021 480 7700</a> from a cellphone or <a>107</a> from a landline.</p> <br> <strong>End</strong>2016-12-14T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#d37f038d-719f-45ff-b7c1-e8bb0119e4c4;L0|#0d37f038d-719f-45ff-b7c1-e8bb0119e4c4|Learner firefighters;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#0527b2d4-270f-4110-9ada-0198dcb8d25f;L0|#00527b2d4-270f-4110-9ada-0198dcb8d25f|Public Emergency Communication Centre;GPP|#d37f038d-719f-45ff-b7c1-e8bb0119e4c4;GP0|#c9a37481-28d8-4326-8fb2-8171e2dd5ce8;L0|#0c9a37481-28d8-4326-8fb2-8171e2dd5ce8|Fire and Rescue Service1


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