Fi­re­fig­h­ters trai­ned to in­stall smo­ke a­larms

George Herald - - NEWS -

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 of fi­re and res­cue ser­vi­ces in the 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 in­stal­led. “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 e­vi­den­ce pro­ves the worth of the u­ni­que pro-acti­ve smo­ke a­larm in­ter­ven­ti­on which was re­se­ar­ched, de­ve­lo­ped and im­ple­men­ted by the de­part­ment.

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. “The go­al is to roll out t­he­se a­larms to all vul­ne­ra­ble

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

com­mu­ni­ties within the We­stern Ca­pe as fast as pos­si­ble, within cur­rent bud­ge­ta­ry con­straints.

Sin­ce the pi­lot pro­gram­me was rol­led out and ex­clu­ding the la­test acti­va­ti­on, the­re ha­ve been two ot­her acti­va­ti­ons in Wal­la­ce­de­ne 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 spre­a­ding to ot­her dwel­lings. 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 ha­ve 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.”

Ek­steen says the low-cost, bat­te­ryo­pe­ra­ted ho­me smo­ke a­larm gre­at­ly 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 members t­hat re­cei­ved trai­ning in in­stal­ling smo­ke a­larms in ho­mes. In front, from left, are An­dré 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, Lou­is 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.

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