Sir Lowry’s Pass Fire Station officially opened
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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town officially opened the Sir Lowry’s Pass Fire Station on Friday.
The fire station is the fourth one in the eastern district and the 32nd in the metro.
During the opening ceremony, Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, said fire stations are centres of emergency response and the front-line personnel deployed work hard to safeguard lives and homes when called out to incidents.
Plato said the location of the fire station has been operational since July last year and is based on the growing demand presented by surrounding areas.
“From this station, firefighters will be able to respond quickly to possible fires in Sir Lowry’s Pass and neighbouring areas,” Plato said.
The neighbouring areas the fire station will be serving are Riemvasmaak, Uitkyk Informal Settlement and Rasta Camp Nomzamo, Lwandle, Sir Lowry’s Pass and Chris Nissen Park up to the eastern boundary between the Gordon’s Bay and Grabouw.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith, said the location was chosen so that residents benefit directly as it not only improves response times but also allows for direct access to an essential service.
The fire station is equipped with an engine room with one fire engine, a support vehicle and currently has seven firefighters per shift and additional seasonal firefighters during the summer season.
The station is also equipped with a 24-hour medical room available to treat and stabilise patients before transportation to healthcare facilities.
A retention dam is on site and will be used to reduce the use of potable water for ablution facilities.
“The City’s Fire and Rescue Service has a proud tradition of service and we hope the new station will become an integral part of the community.
“I call on the community to embrace this facility and support our staff in uniform who put their own lives at risk for others,” Smith said
The City’s Fire and Rescue Services are also equipped to assist with special service calls which include trauma, assault, motor vehicle accidents and hazardous material spills.
Smith said there has been a reduction in the number of these calls in the last two financial years since the Covid-19 pandemic hit and related lockdown regulations were implemented. .
In the 2018/19 financial year it received 10 371 special service calls, in 2019/20 the number dropped to 8 500 and in the 2020/21 financial year the number dropped to 7 203.
“This drop in special service calls means our Fire and Rescue Service responded to fewer motor vehicle accidents, and fewer trauma cases and had fewer people walk into their stations requiring medical treatment for injuries.
“It is one more example of the impact of the curfew and intermittent alcohol bans over the past 16 months.
“We are also seeing it in our enforcement statistics, and of course it has also been evident in the dramatic reduction in trauma cases in our hospitals,” Smith said.
However, over the last 12 months, there has been an increase in fire incidents.
Smith said the big driver was vegetation fires, although residential fires (formal and informal dwellings) fires also increased between three and four percent year-on-year.
Fatalities increased from 170 to 188 with just half (54%) being adult males.
Smith said the increase in fire incidents can be due to a number of factors such as arson, human error or negligence and also weather conditions.
He said the City will continue to focus on scaling up its firefighting resources with additional fire stations like Kommetjie Road that opened its doors last year but also investing in equipment and human resources.
Smith said fire safety education and awareness continues although efforts have been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
“We appeal to the public to do their bit in ensuring that their environment is fire-safe. Make sure that stoves or other cooking and heating devices are on stable surfaces, that electrical sockets are not overloaded, and that electrical work is carried out by certified electricians.
“More importantly, when working with open flames or any flammable substances, never leave these unattended and keep children away from lighters or matches,” he said.
Smith added that if possible, smoke detectors can be installed in homes and residents can acquire fire extinguishers but more importantly it is vital for families to know who to call in the event of a fire and also to report vegetation fires.