Fire Safety Awareness Campaign launched
In an ongoing effort to address the scourge of fires in Western Cape Communities and in particular in informal settlement areas, the Western Cape Department of Local Government is running a campaign called Fire is Everyone’s Fight.
The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, launched a new tool in this campaign in Khayelitsha today.
“This tool is the Fire is Everyone’s Fight” Educators Toolkit and is aimed at helping educators and organisations to create awareness of the prevention of fires in our communities. The tools in the toolkit are targeted at people without specialist training and will upskill people in getting the message out that fire is everyone’s fight.”
Bredell says it is vital to educate communities about fires and fire prevention and in particular children.
“We all have a responsibility to teach our children the basics and to act responsibly around fire ourselves. We must continuously talk to our families and friends about the dangers of fire and what to do when it breaks out.”
Bredell says every fire is devastating and often tragic.
“Together we can do better. Together we will save lives with this campaign. Because fire is everyone’s fight.”
The idea of the department’s Fire is Everyone’s Fight campaign, is to help communities understand that fires can be prevented.
The specific objectives include:
• Reducing fire injuries and deaths in informal settlements
• Reducing property loss
• Reducing other residential fire losses
Besides the toolkit, the campaign includes fire safety messages that is distributed on social media platforms like Mxit and a radio advert that illustrates the dangers of children playing with matches and lighters and the need for parental involvement when it comes to fires and sources of fires in the home.
In addition, fire safety activity booklets have been distributed throughout the Province in various publications.
The emergency toll free number to dial in the event of a fire; is free from any cellphone.
The number is 112.
The WCDMC has the following tips to help keep families safe from fire:
What if a Fire breaks out in My House?
• Warn people inside the house to get out safely.
• Help people to get out and stay out of harm's way.
• If there is a lot of smoke, crawl out below the smoke to escape the fire.
• Where possible, have more than one exit from your house, with clear routes to the door.
Safety around an Open Flame
• Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.
• Cut candles in half to prevent them falling over and use a candle holder.
• Never leave an open fire – for example around a braai - unattended.
• Monitor weather conditions. If the wind is strong, rather put the fires out till the wind dies down.
General Safety tips
• Keep a well-maintained fire extinguisher in your house, and know how to use it.
• If you don’t have an extinguisher, keep an empty bucket for water or a bucket of sand if possible, on hand.
• If you have a garden hose, keep it rolled up and ready in case of fire.
• Have an escape plan, and make sure that the whole family knows the plan.
• Do not park in the way of a fire hydrant (and remind your neighbours and visitors to do the same).
When reporting fires, the public can also contact the closest Local District Municipality
• City of Cape Town - 021 480 7700 from a cellphone
• Overberg - 028 425 1690
• West Coast - 022 433 8700
• Eden - 044 805 5071
• Central Karoo - 023 414 2603
• Cape Winelands - 021 887 4446