Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital Promotes Safer Candle Use during Earth Hour
The entrance to Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital was completely candle lit for Earth Hour - between 20:30 and 21:30 - on Saturday, 26 March.
WWF's Earth Hour is the largest annual mass participation environmental event in the world; the World Wildlife Fund encourages people all over the world to turn off their lights for one hour in a symbolic gesture to pledge their commitment to combating climate change.
However, fires caused by fallen candles are frequent in Cape Town and other South African communities.
Last winter, 23 children and adults died in fires caused by six fallen candles in Mannenberg, Khayelitsha and Kleinmond between July and September.
"These sad events increased the resolve of Childsafe to continue Safer Candle Project outreach opportunities and convey the message that a Safer Candle is essential for all homes," Dorothy Schulman of Childsafe, a non-profit organisation based at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, said.
The Safer Candle project teaches parents how to make a simple, cost-efficient candleholder using a large glass jar and dry sand. The candles should be cut in half, so that the flame is lower than the top of the jar. Then, if the jar tips over, the sand extinguishes the flame and prevents the fire from spreading.
Every week, Childsafe runs Safer Candle demonstrations in Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital's out-patient waiting rooms.
During Earth Hour, Childsafe set up 24 Safer Candles in the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital's main foyer.
"The 24 Safer Candles represent 24 hours in the day when all citizens should be aware of energy saving and climate change," Dorothy Schulman of Childsafe said.