What you should do when a wildfire approaches your property | Western Cape Government

What you should do when a wildfire approaches your property

What you should do when a wildfire approaches your property

  • Even if the fire seems small, report it immediately.
  • Decide whether it's safer to stay or leave your property. 
  • Wear protective clothing and footwear. 
  • WildfireHave emergency food and medical supplies ready.
  • Move livestock to safer areas. 
  • Listen to the radio for news updates.
  • Wet the garden and house, especially on the side of the approaching fire.
  • Plug gutters and fill them with water.
  • Fill baths, buckets and dust bins with water in case the water supply fails, and have mops handy.
  • Seal any gaps between the doors and floor using wet towels or similar items.
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • If you decide to stay, go indoors and remain there until the fire has passed.
    • Take hoses and other firefighting equipment indoors with you.
    • Check inside the house, including the roof cavity, and extinguish any small fires immediately.
    • Remain vigilant after the fire has passed.

If you decide to evacuate your home, remember that every second counts:

  • Escape first, then call for help. Develop a home fire escape plan and make sure everyone in the family gathers at an agreed meeting place outside.
  • Make sure everyone in the family knows 2 ways to escape from every room.
  • Practise feeling your way out with your eyes closed.
  • Never stand up in a fire, always crawl low under the smoke and try to keep your mouth covered.
  • Practice your family emergency or home escape plan frequently with your family.
  • Never return to a burning building for any reason. This can have severe consequences for you.

Time to leave

During a wildfire, it will likely be dark, smoky, windy, dry and hot. There may be burning embers being blown about, no electricity, no phone service and poor water pressure. Remember, there is nothing you own that is more valuable than your life! Please evacuate immediately when asked by fire or law enforcement officials. If you're concerned, don’t wait to be asked to leave. Drive slowly, turn on your vehicle headlights and stay as far to the left side of the road as possible.

Evacuation

No single method of communication is failsafe during an emergency, so regional public safety officials use a combination of methods to keep the public informed during an emergency. Fire approaching home

  • Local government public information officers can prepare and distribute press releases for broadcast by local media outlets.
  • Public safety officials can directly broadcast messages over radio channels.
  • First responders and credentialed volunteers can go door-to-door to alert citizens.
  • If applicable, the local SMS notification system (municipal text messaging system) can be used to notify affected residents.

There's no guarantee that every citizen will be contacted, but these methods allow regional officials to quickly notify large sections of the local population.

Injured animals

If you come across any injured animals, or if you want to volunteer, you can call the Cape of Good Hope SPCA at 021 700 4159/8 or visit their Facebook page for more information.

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The content on this page was last updated on 1 November 2019