Picture: supplied.
Picture: supplied.

Western Cape communities educated on fire awareness ahead of rainy season

By Nomalanga Tshuma Time of article published Jun 21, 2021

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Cape Town - A winter fire awareness campaign initiated by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment Working on Fire Programme, (WOF) has begun to gain momentum.

The campaign was officially launched in May and has reached several local and informal communities across the province, actively working to douse opportunistic house fires.

According to WOF, while the veld and forest summer fire season has come to an end, the month of June marks the beginning of a Winter Fire Season where most fires occur in residential areas.

WOF’s Community Fire Awareness Officer Rayganah Rhoda said this was mostly because of the cold weather conditions when families would, in a bid to keep warm, become victims of unwanted fires.

“During the winter months, we run campaigns to educate and empower communities to practise safety measures to avoid unwanted fires. The majority of fires are due to human negligence when using heating equipment and also incorrect use of candles.

“People must also ensure that they have the contact details of their local fire authorities at hand should there be a fire emergency.”

She said that the recent constant load shedding also posed a threat of unwanted fires as communities have begun to make use of alternative heating and lighting methods in the absence of electricity.

“Over the next few weeks, our mission is to empower those at risk to take responsibility to reduce the risk and impact of fires in their communities. We are encouraging people to follow basic fire prevention methods during our door-to-door campaign.

“We also have teams visiting learners in schools to teach them about fire safety and how they can respond in case of an emergency. So far the campaign has been going relatively well. Residents are engaging with us which is important,” said Rhoda.

Some of the communities that have already received a dutiful visit from WOF include Suurbraak, Prince Alfred, Hamlet, Uniondale, Ceres, Bella Vista, Riversdale, and Albertinia as well as schools within these communities.

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