Increase in fires as load shedding ramps up

HOUSE fires are increasing as result of extended load shedding and South Africans need to be extra careful, Fidelity ADT has warned.

HOUSE fires are increasing as result of extended load shedding and South Africans need to be extra careful, Fidelity ADT has warned.

Published Jul 11, 2022

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House fires are increasing as result of extended load shedding and South Africans need to be extra careful, Fidelity ADT has warned.

“We have been made aware of several instances where fires have broken out in homes because of power cuts,” said Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communication at Fidelity ADT.

Hattingh said that in one instance, a resident was cooking when the power went off. She then went to the shops and while she was out the power came back on. She had accidentally left the stove on and a fire broke out as a result of the food burning.

In another instance, a resident was running a generator in an outside shed. Because the generator was running for an extended period, heat built up in the shed and it caught on fire.

“We have other reports of people forgetting to turn off electrical items like hair dryers, stoves, heaters, curling irons and so on during load shedding. When the power returns, these items switch back on and can cause serious damage as they overheat,” Hattingh said.

She added that leaks in gas heaters and gas bottles are another issue.

“We are urging all residents to be exceptionally careful at this time and to ensure they have smoke detectors installed and fire extinguishers in their homes,” said Hattingh.

OUSE fires are increasing as result of extended load shedding and South Africans need to be extra careful, Fidelity ADT has warned. Picture: Gcina Ndwalane

ADT Fidelity added that alarm batteries are also running flat due to the extended cuts and the short time between power cuts.

“Homeowners and business owners need to test their alarms and security systems on a regular basis, but this has become more important now than ever before. The battery backup system is a crucial element that needs to be tested, to give you the ease of mind that it will still offer monitoring and protection when the power goes out,” said Hattingh.

She added that in one of the reported fire instances, the resident pressed their panic button but it did not work because the battery had drained due to an extended power cut.

“Remember, in a fire emergency every second counts. Getting the fire department to the property as soon as possible is crucial. It is also very important that the fire department can access the property when they arrive so ensure someone nearby has keys to enable access. People should only attempt to tackle a fire if it is safe to do so, larger fires should be left to experienced fire department personnel,” Hattingh said.

Head of Personal Lines Underwriting at Santam, Attie Blaauw also recently said South Africans need to mitigate the damages caused by load shedding by being prepared prior to power going off.

“The reality is load shedding has an immense impact on consumers and businesses alike – who must cope with the damage to appliances brought on by power surges and dips, as well as the increased crime-related risks as a result of faulty security systems,” said Blaauw.

@Chulu_M

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