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Tips for keeping your children safe – Part 3 – Fire Safety

During my 25 years of urban security, I was absolutely astounded by the volume of household or business fire emergencies I attended.

From urban fires to industrial fires, to residential fires and most frequently, shack fires in townships, I have seen it all – and every time, it was devastating!

Loadshedding has caused an enormous threat to the escalation of all of these types of fire emergencies. Firstly, without power many households are becoming increasingly dependent on paraffin, gas and candles, all of which present danger, including the way in which they are stored when not in use. 

Most shack fires emanate from paraffin stoves or lanterns and candles, and this is due to open flames being left unattended. Not only this, but these open flames produce carbon monoxide – a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas, which in a poorly ventilated environment, will cause death. 

With winter coming and loadshedding seemingly endless, people will be forced to depend on fire more than ever – for light, cooking and heat. 

Also, as this dry season approaches, veld fires will become another danger to lives and properties – keep grass and vegetation around your properties to a minimum. 

If going for a hike or game drive remember 3 things:

  1. You can’t outrun a veld fire in a strong wind. 
  2. A runaway fire can jump even a 300 metre gap.
  3. The direction in which the wind is blowing, determines fire directions – and this can change in a second. 

Here are some easy-to-implement suggestions to help keep various fire threats at a minimum:

  • Have 1 or more fire extinguishers in the house, and as soon as possible teach your children how to use them.
  • Have the local fire department or emergency services numbers at hand.
  • Practice your evacuation plan and appoint a designated safe zone in your environment as your assembly point.
  • Install a few smoke detectors in key areas. These should ideally be connected to your response companies.
  • Never underestimate how quickly a fire can spread. Fire starting devices should never be within reach – if you are a smoker, check where you leave your lighter or matches. A cigarette lighter in a car can also be a disaster in the hands of children. 
  • Ensure your hoses are connected to taps around your property. 
  • Make sure that anyone else who lives on your property follows the same rules regarding fire prevention.  

Until next week, stay safe.