DEMS gives locals fire safety tips

Help prevent shack fires this winter.

Residents are warned to be careful in light of the recent shack fire in Marathon informal settlement, which destroyed 39 shacks.

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According to William Ntladi, the spokesperson for Ekurhuleni DEMS, residents should exercise caution when using heating appliances to stay warm as they continue to be the main cause of house fires.

William Ntladi, DEMS spokesperson, points to illegal connection cables at Marathon informal settlement.

Ntladi said that at this time of year, shack fires caused by space heaters or brazier accidents are rather common.

To stop more shacks from catching fire, he said that shacks needed to be spaced three meters apart.

“Gas stoves must be purchased from a licensed vendor since a gas cylinder that has been overcharged may explode.

“Use of the gas stove necessitates a flat surface,” said Ntladi.

DEMS provided the following safety tips to prevent fires:

• Keep anything that can burn at least a metre away from heating equipment such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.

• Have a metre “child-free zone” around home fires and space heaters.

ALSO READ: DEMS releases winter safety tips

• Never use your oven to heat your home.

• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year before usage, by a qualified professional.

• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.

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• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop embers from flying into the room.

Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

He also said during winter when temperatures can drop dramatically it is everyone`s responsibility to be vigilant in the prevention of destructive fires while keeping warm.

Save these emergency contact numbers for assistance in case of need:

• Fire and rescue services/ life-threatening emergencies: 011 458 0911

• National toll-free number: 10177

• From a cellphone: 112


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