Cape fire fighters on high alert

Monday, February 28, 2011

Pretoria - Cape fire fighters are on high alert after a warning from the South African Weather Services for veld fires.

The SAWS have predicted temperatures in the high 20s and 30s for the remainder of the week as well as strong, gusting south-easterly winds across much of the city.

The city's disaster response teams are also on standby. This includes off-duty and other emergency staff that can be called upon, should threatening fires break out in the Peninsula.

"The fire warning is the result of a combination of extremely hot conditions and strong winds," Head of the City's Disaster Risk Management Centre, Greg Pillay, said.

The City of Cape Town's fire fighters, operating from 29 fire stations across the metropole, are working round-the-clock shifts, assisted by contracted seasonal fire fighters. They are geared to deal with any fire emergency situation.

The City urges all residents to heed fire warnings and practise the following tips:

* Extinguish or switch off all heating, cooking and lighting devices before going to sleep or leaving the area.
* Ensure that heating, cooking or lighting devices are on a stable platform and not near flammable substances of any kind.
* Do not overload electrical plugs or connections - they will overheat and catch fire.
* Only braai in safe and designated areas and extinguish your braai fires completely before leaving the area.
* Informal settlement residents need to maintain a safe distance of at least three metres between their dwellings to prevent a fire from spreading.
* Reduce overgrowth and vegetation in and around your property by cutting and trimming on a regular basis to avoid fire spread.
* Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case a fire does accidentally start.
* Ideally, have a fire extinguisher available in your home or motor vehicle.
* Keep matches, lighters, paraffin and poisonous substances out of reach of children.

Any emergency and/or distress call can be reported to the 107 emergency number from a Telkom line.

Cellphone users need to dial 021 480 7700.

For other handy safety tips, please visit the City's Fire & Rescue Services website on www.capetown.gov.za under the Services and Departments tab.

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