Fire season claims more lives | Western Cape Government



Fire season claims more lives

24 April 2015

The minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell wishes to express his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of two firefighters that died in a helicopter accident yesterday. 

The pilot flying the Working on Fire Helicopter and one other firefighter died while helping to combat a raging wildfire in the Bainskloof area near Wellington in the Boland.

“The 2014/2015 fire season has claimed a toll from firefighters with five men including two pilots, two volunteers and a firefighter from the West Coast District Municipality now having died in the past six months.”

Bredell says the province has been hit by a series of fire-related tragedies over the past six months. 

“Besides the firemen that have died, there have also been devastating informal settlement fires. In one incident only days ago, five people died in an informal settlement fire in Houtbay that also left around 120 people displaced.” 

Bredell says the family and friends of the victims and the community of firefighters are in his thoughts. 

“I wish them comfort in their time of mourning.”

The minister has called upon the public once more to be responsible and vigilant when dealing with fire and flammable material.

“Fire is everybody’s responsibility. Together we must help each other to fight it. When you see a fire please immediately call the emergency number 112. The quicker the disaster management officials know about a fire, the quicker they can respond.”

The WCDMC has the following tips to help keep families safe from fire:

General Safety tips

•    Keep an empty bucket for water or a bucket of sand if possible, on hand.
•    Practice evacuations with family members, particularly children, to prepare for fire.
•    Don’t try to fight fires that are too big, rather wait for the authorities.
•    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 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).

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.

Media Enquiries: 

James-Brent Styan
Spokesperson for the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell
Mobile:              084 583 1670
Telephone:       021 483 2820