Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services Caution Public on Guy Fawkes Day | Western Cape Government

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Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services Caution Public on Guy Fawkes Day

4 November 2013

Statement by Anton Bredell, Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning

I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all our communities to take heed of Western Cape Disaster Management’s appeals to practise caution while participating in Guy Fawkes Day celebrations on Tuesday, 5 November 2013. 

With the excitement of loud rumbling explosions and beautifully coloured sparks flying through the air, people often forget that fireworks may contain dangerous chemicals and explosives that can destroy property and injure people.
"The safest way to enjoy fireworks is by attending a public fireworks display," said Colin Deiner, Chief Director for Western Cape Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services.
Fire danger is extremely high around summer time. Fire dependant vegetation may be found everywhere in the Western Cape. A small veld fire can lead to major destruction of homes, property and unnecessary life loss.
Fireworks lead to numerous injuries requiring emergency room treatment. The tip of a regular sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 500 degrees centigrade, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
If you plan to use consumer fireworks, the Western Cape Fire Brigade Services and Fire Chiefs Committee join in advising you to follow these important safety tips help reduce the chances of a destructive fire and injury:
The safest way of enjoying fireworks is to attend an outdoor fireworks show managed by professionals.
  • Leave an area where amateurs (adults included) are using fireworks and never pick up or use fireworks from an unknown source.
  • If you are going to use fireworks, use them at designated areas and times (contact your local municipality or fire department).
  • Read and follow the directions on fireworks packages.
  • Make sure adults supervise all use of fireworks. Young children should not play with fireworks. Even sparklers can cause a serious burn injury.
  • Use fireworks in an open area away from dry grass and other flammable materials. Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies to pour on fireworks that don’t go off.
  • Light fireworks one at a time. Do not try to re-ignite fireworks. Soak fireworks that did not ignite with water. Do not attempt to repair broken fireworks.
  • Do not point or throw fireworks at people. Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Never carry fireworks in your pockets.
  • Never try to re-ignite malfunctioned fireworks.
  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • Finally, please don’t forget to ensure your pets and other animals are safely protected during the festivities. Our animals need to be protected and your co-operation and support would be welcomed by all.
"Summer is often a time when children are left alone, or have limited adult supervision providing an even greater potential for fire and injury. Parents are urged to make sure children know how to call their local emergency services number to report a fire or injury, to never touch matches and lighters, and to get out, and stay out if their home does catch fire.” adds Deiner. 
The safety of the public is a top priority for the Western Cape Government and taking the necessary precautions this Guy Fawkes Day will contribute to mitigating any incidents and injuries of citizens in a spirit of being Better Together.
In cases of emergencies call:
  • City of Cape Town: 107 from a landline and 112 from a cellphone
  • Cape Winelands: Langeberg Municipality 0860 88 1111
  • Eden District: 044 805 5071 
  • Central Karoo: 023 414 2603
  • West Coast: 022 433 8700
  • Overberg: 028 271 8111
Media Enquiries: 
Colin Deiner                                                                                                                                          
Chief Director: Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services
Cell: 082 550 6770 
Lisa Geswindt 
Media Liaison 
Cell: 083 497 1929
Peter Pullen
Media Liaison Officer 
Minister Bredell
Cell: 082 574 3773