Fire Emergencies: Be Aware, Be Prepared | Western Cape Government

Fire Emergencies: Be Aware, Be Prepared

Funding Fair 2015 TipsWith summer upon us, fire-fighters are on high alert to respond to fires and other disasters that may arise during the hot and windy months ahead. 

According to Working on Fire (WoF), 90% of fires are caused by human negligence. By being prepared and taking the correct precautions, each person can make this season a safe one. Anton Bredell, the Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, says when it comes to fires in the Western Cape, firefighting entities and government authorities cannot do the job alone.
“We need everyone’s help. The Western Cape province is particularly vulnerable to fires that get destructive very quickly due to types of wind we get. If the South Easter gets hold of a fire, it becomes a huge issue very quickly.
People should be responsible when it comes to open flames and managing fires, including braais over the summer season,” he said.
The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre says fires are most often caused by electrical faults or carelessness.
Cigarettes, matches and lighters, candles, heating appliances and open braai fires can all cause fires if not carefully monitored.
To prevent the loss of lives and property, everybody needs to be aware of the danger of fire during this season.

Fire Safety Tips and Rules

  • General Safety Rules: 
    • Keep a well-maintained fire extinguisher in your house, and know how to use it.
    • If you have a garden hose, keep it rolled up and ready in case of a fire.
    • Where possible, have more than one exit from your house.
    • 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). Funding Fair 2015 Tips
  • 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.
    • Do not let open fires, like a braai, get too big and out of control.
    • Monitor weather conditions. If the wind is strong, rather put the fires out until the wind calms. 
  • 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.

For more tips on how to prevent fires, you can visit the Fire and Rescue Services at the City of Cape Town's webpage.

Fire Season 2014When reporting fires, please contact your Local District Municipality

  • City of Cape Town: 107 or 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

Be sure to save the appropriate number on your cellphone and to teach it to your children. 

You can find general contact information of your local municipality on the following webpage.


Useful Information

The Disaster Risk Management at the City of Cape Town has made the following information available to the public to help ensure their safety:

The Working on Fire programme (WoF), funded by the South African Government, is one of South Africa's most successful poverty alleviation, job creation and community upliftment initiatives.

Please visit their website for more information or follow follow WoF on Twitter for daily updates.

Stompie Hotline 

Cape Town fire chief, Ian Schnetler, wants Capetonians to report motorists who toss cigarette butts out of their car windows.

The stompie hotline control centre number is (021) 424 7715.

The content on this page was last updated on 23 December 2014