Firefighters trained to install smoke alarms
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.