Working on Fire empowers community with fire safety skills after Simon’s Town fire

Working on Fire crews at the Red Hill informal settlement. Picture: WoF

Working on Fire crews at the Red Hill informal settlement. Picture: WoF

Published Jan 17, 2024


After the devastating fire in Simon’s Town, Cape Town in December which took almost a week to quell, Working on Fire (WoF) has launched a project to empower the community with fire safety skills.

The fire broke out on the mountain slopes on December 19, and threatened the lives of people and animals, homes, and properties of those in the area.

WoF spokesperson, Limakatso Khalianyane said these steps have been taken to empower members of the community.

“The WoF Newlands Team, visited the Red Hill informal settlement on Friday to conduct a door-to-door fire awareness presentation,” Khalianyane said.

“During this initiative, community members were educated on effective measures to protect themselves and their properties from runaway fires. This initial effort marks the beginning of an ongoing collaboration with community leaders to extend more extensive workshops.”

Working on Fire crews at the Red Hill informal settlement. Picture: WoF

She said during the time of the fire, the creation and upkeep of fire-breaks proved instrumental in safeguarding properties. The primary goal of the presentations is to instil a sense of ownership and responsibility for safety, especially in the face of veld fires.

WoF also shared some tips for stopping unnatural veld fires from happening:

– Report veld fires immediately.

– Get rid of hot ash and coal from heating and cooking in a safe place where no plant materials or debris can catch alight.

– Cover an open fire with sand to smother it.

– When working with power tools, always work in an open and clear area.

– Ensure there are no illegal electrical connections connected or near your home and make sure electrical appliances are correctly wired. Illegal and faulty connections can get hot and burn.

– Keep the area around your home clear of flammable material such as firewood and kindling.

– Speak up immediately when someone is carelessly playing with fire.

– Avoid burning rubbish on hot windy days, as a fire can spread easily and ensure you have a burning permit.

– Keep cigarette butts in your vehicle, as opposed to flicking them out your window.

– Never leave open fires unattended.

– Know emergency numbers to report wildfires: 112 from a mobile phone and 10177 from a landline.

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