The ranks of the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service have been boosted by 93 seasonal firefighters who will assist in the combat of wildfires during the summer season.
“The higher temperatures during the summer season increases the risk of more and larger vegetation fires. Summer is often a busier season not only because of the increase in vegetation fires, at times 100 a day, but this is in addition to residential and informal settlement fires; rescues and responses to other incidents,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith.
Seasonal firefighters are based at five different stations from December to April and are deployed to combat vegetation fires. They join about 900 professional firefighters who work on a three-shift rotational system. In addition, two helicopters and a spotter plan are available.
From December 2018 to April 2019, the service responded to 5 396 vegetation fires, and for December 2019 to April 2020, they responded to 5 836 fires.
“Many of our seasonal recruits have returned after fighting fires last summer season. It is a testament to the calibre and commitment of the entire service, as this is a job that requires physical and mental fitness. They join the ranks of a permanent contingent dedicated to protecting lives and property,” said Smith.
The City now has 32 operational fire stations with the addition of Sir Lowry’s Pass Fire Station, which is in line with bringing services closer to the community.
“While our firefighters are ready for a busy season ahead, we need residents to do their part in mitigating fire risks. The department continues their inspections and awareness drives within the necessary regulations, but we need residents to take heed of safety tips provided. Together we can make the season safer for everyone,” added Smith.
TIPS FOR FIRE PREVENTION AND SAFETY IN THE HOME
- Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach;
- Cut candles in half to prevent them falling over – and use a candle holder;
- Do not smoke in bed;
- If you can afford it, keep a fire extinguisher in your home; maintain it annually and learn how to use it;
- Keep a bucket of sand in the kitchen if you don’t have an extinguisher; throwing sand over a small fire, especially oil, can help contain it before it gets out of control;
- Keep a garden hose rolled up and ready;
- Where possible, have more than one exit point from your house;
- Make an escape plan that the whole family knows about and can follow – see the City’s Home Checklist; and
- Do not park in the way of a fire hydrant.