Ricochet News

Buffalo City Metro won't cope with huge fires like those seen in Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay

Jun 19, 2017
Buffalo City Metro won't cope with huge fires like those seen in Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay

In light of the devastating fires that ravaged Knysna, Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga last week, the Democratic Alliance in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality on Monday said that it is gravely concerned about the capacity of the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) to fight fires of that magnitude.

"Buffalo City Metro has 7 fire stations, with only 6 fire trucks in operation. And of those 6 fire trucks, 0 passed the roadworthy test.

"We have, for the past 2 years, asked Council questions to ascertain the functionality of our Metro’s Fire Department, and to date, many of the answers given have been unsatisfactory," said Sue Bentley a DA Buffalo City Municipality PR Councillor.

She said that the latest set of questions, tabled in April at the Health and Public Safety portfolio committee meeting, were to be answered in the meeting scheduled for 15 June 2017, but no report was available.

"These questions were formulated to glean answers on specific issues relating to operational readiness and the functionality of the Department," Bentley said.

"Our Metro lacks adequate hosing with available hosing equipment leaking. The problem is made worse by the limited number of nozzles available, which greatly affects the response time to a fire alarm."

She added that BCM fire engines also have no full sets of Jaws of Life, no cutting equipment (chainsaws and angle grinders), no ladders, no fire extinguishers, and no oxygen or fire blankets for burn victims, no resuscitation devices, and most vehicles do not have trauma boards or cervical collars, with very limited medical equipment

"It is very clear that the Metro is not ready for any major fire disasters," Bentley said.

"We will continue to ask questions and do oversight visits to the fire stations until BCM is able to offer the residents the fire service they will need in time of crisis."