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Fire awareness key to a safer winter<div>‘There is always a risk of fire, but for households in particular, this risk is elevated during winter. Heaters, fires, electric blankets and other devices or means all come into play, and then of course the use of alternative cooking or lighting sources as residents continue to grapple with loadshedding. It is a lot to keep track of, but I implore residents to keep their family’s safety top of mind at all times. Also, rope in the entire household to ensure that all open flames or devices that could pose a fire risk are used safely, or switched off when not in use, and that everyone, including the children know what to do in the event of an emergency,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.</div><div><br></div><div>A breakdown of fire statistics for June – August over a three-year period shows that fires are prevalent in both formal and informal residences.  During this three-year period, 120 fatalities were recorded.</div><div><br></div><div><span><p><img src="" class="responsive" alt="" style="width:831px;" /></p>​​</span><br></div><div>CITY INTERVENTIONS</div><div><br></div><div>The City’s Fire & Rescue Service and the Disaster Risk Management Centre conduct hundreds of education and awareness outreach programmes each year around fire safety; highlighting fire risks, risk mitigation measures and what to do in the event of fire.</div><div><br></div><div>This includes the distribution of fire extinguishers and the ad hoc installation of smoke detectors in certain informal settlements courtesy of ward allocations, donations and sponsorships. </div><div><br></div><div>In April 2022, the DRMC distributed nearly 12 000 fire and flood safety pamphlets in eight informal settlements in Philippi, Gugulethu and Dunoon.</div><div><br></div><div>In addition, the City continues to invest in resourcing its Fire and Rescue Service to ensure timeous and effective responses to fires and other emergencies.</div><div><br></div><div>‘Our efforts are not without challenges, however. Fires are often not reported through the correct channels, which slows down response times. In addition, our staff struggle to access some informal settlements, not only to extinguish fires, but also for their outreach activities. Where areas are considered red zones, our firefighters will wait for an enforcement escort, because of the sustained attacks on the service in recent years, and then we also have to contend with issues like illegal electricity connections and negligence, often cited as the cause of fires.</div><div><br></div><div>‘Where fires or other emergencies do occur, we want to remind the public that SASSA is responsible for dispensing disaster relief to affected residents. This has been the case since 2018,’ added Alderman Smith. </div><div><br></div><div>SHARED RESPONSIBILITY</div><div><br></div><div>While the City continues to do everything possible to mitigate the risk of fire, ultimately it is up to each and every resident to ensure that their households are adequately prepared for an emergency, and aware of the risks and how to address these.</div><div><br></div><div>The City has developed an extensive list of fire safety tips for households, including a fire safety checklist, that can be accessed here: <span style="font-size:12pt;font-family:"century gothic", sans-serif;"><a href=""></a></span><br></div><div><br></div><div>‘Over the last decade and a half, the City has increased the number of firefighters, improved and modernised firefighting equipment, purchased more and innovative firefighting vehicles, added seasonal firefighting services, invested in improved training and modernised its call-taking and dispatching systems to make our communities as safe as possible. This has culminated in the most recent statistics showing that the City has managed to protect many more people from becoming victims of fire with the death rate from fire dropping to below 2.5 per 100 000 – a third of what it was at the end of 2005. </div><div><br></div><div>‘We can do even better through the assistance of the residents who can improve their safety at home. It’s a scary topic, but it really ought to be a conversation that is had in all households, to make sure that everyone knows how to decrease the risk of a fire, what to do in the event that a fire breaks out, and most importantly, who to call. Adequate preparation can keep your home fire-free, but it can also reduce the impact should a fire occur, and most importantly, keep your family safe,’ added Alderman Smith.</div><div><br><br></div><p><br></p>2022-05-21T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891d;GP0|#e3c03ac1-845c-4119-815d-e796340463ba;L0|#0e3c03ac1-845c-4119-815d-e796340463ba|Community newsGP0|#40dbd004-40b4-4ca7-8b48-7e2e62aa6d23;L0|#040dbd004-40b4-4ca7-8b48-7e2e62aa6d23|Community and public safety;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#36a1168d-a508-46b6-bc80-b2e9f2f35a0b;L0|#036a1168d-a508-46b6-bc80-b2e9f2f35a0b|Community and Society;GP0|#cb2fbda2-f27c-4834-be95-7f049c8640b3;L0|#0cb2fbda2-f27c-4834-be95-7f049c8640b3|disaster management;GP0|#ba26c63f-2f35-461c-98c2-b1494299d17d;L0|#0ba26c63f-2f35-461c-98c2-b1494299d17d|family disaster preparedness;GP0|#9467e824-52de-4547-9ae6-0308540e3bde;L0|#09467e824-52de-4547-9ae6-0308540e3bde|Fire and Rescue Services10


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