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George fire brigade gets training to install 60 smoke alarms in high risk areas

Jul 25, 2017
George fire brigade gets training to install 60 smoke alarms in high risk areas

Nine members of the George Fire Brigade received training to install smoke alarms provided for areas in which homes are at high risk to catch fire.

Rodney Eksteen, Assistant Director: Fire & Rescue Services from the Western Cape Department of Local Government facilitated the training last week. The department provided an initial 60 alarms, with promises of more to come over the next six months, to get the project properly off the ground.

Johann Crouse, George Fire Station Commander, said a task team will decide the details of where and when the alarms will be established.

“This is a very exciting project that has the potential of saving many lives.”

The activation of a smoke alarm in the Wallacedene informal settlement in Cape Town on 12 July saved the life of the sleeping inhabitant of the informal dwelling and limited the damage from a fire that broke out in the early hours of the morning.

The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, says there can be no doubting the evidence is proving the worth of the unique pro-active smoke alarm intervention, researched, developed and implemented by the department.

Bredell says a recent spate of fires in informal settlement areas in the country from Alexandra in Gauteng to areas in the City of Cape Town, highlights the importance of an intervention like this once again.

“For too long too little has been done to proactively tackle the scourge of fires in our informal communities and many lives and lots of property has been destroyed. The goal of this project is to install smoke alarms in our vulnerable communities that will wake people up before it’s too late,” says Bredell.

Eksteen says the low cost battery operated home smoke alarm, massively increases the chances of surviving a fire because it makes occupants and neighbours aware of a fire within seconds, providing them with the valuable time to escape or extinguish the fire.

“The goal is to roll out these alarms to all vulnerable communities within the Western Cape as fast as possible, within current budgetary constraints.”

“In Wallacedene since the pilot programme was rolled out and excluding the latest activation, there have been two other activations that led to successful interventions preventing certain fires and possible injuries,” says Bredell.

“In addition, these activations have arguably saved many lives and homes due to the prevention of fire spread to other dwellings.”

Image: The members that received training in installing smoke alarms in homes. In front from left are Andre Nelson, Wilton Oktober, Johann Troskie and Simphiwe Sikhosana. At the back are Neels Barnard (George Fire Chief), Warwick Fischer, Moses Mongo, Edith Booysen, Joseph Fortuin, Louise Julies, Rodney Eksteen (Assistant Director: Fire & Rescue Services from the Department of Local Government) and Johann Crouse (George Fire Station Commander) with the new smoke alarms.