Local news

Stay warm and safe this winter

Winter might force many to take drastic measures in order to keep themselves warm but they should always be safe.

If fires are not put out right away, they can be fatal.

Every second counts during a fire emergency, therefore it’s imperative to get the fire department to the scene as soon as possible.

Charnel Hattingh, group head of communications and marketing at the Fidelity Services Group said that during winter, the number of fires increases as people try to keep their homes warm.

ALSO READ: Safety tips for hot weather conditions

“The winter generally sees an increase in the number of fires that are reported as people try to keep the cold weather at bay.

“A fire at your home can happen when you least expect it and that is why it is good to have measures in place to avoid excessive damage or loss,” said Hattingh.

The company has created a fire safety checklist to assist in locating any weak points in homes.

According to Hattingh, residents can follow the fire prevention checklist to ensure that their homes are safe from fire hazards and ensure that their homes and loved ones are safe. They are:

• Smoke detectors are an excellent idea to install around your home and where you have an accumulation of electronic equipment that needs recharging.

ALSO READ: EMPD issues safety tips for pedestrians

• Ideally one should have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and garage. It is also useful to consider adding a fire blanket with a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

• Ensure all electrical cords and plugs are in good condition without frays or damage; electrical outlets should not be overloaded with too many plugs.

• Heaters should be placed at least 1m away from flammable materials, like curtains, furniture, or bedding and if you have a fireplace, the chimney and vents are cleaned and inspected annually.

If any heating appliances (and this includes hair curlers or other such devices) were switched on when load shedding started, please switch them off to avoid any unattended devices catching fire when the power comes back later.

• Stoves and ovens should be free from grease buildup and all flammable items like dish towels.

• Ensure candles are placed on sturdy holders and kept far away from curtains, bedding, and other flammable materials. They should be extinguished before bed.

ALSO READ: ECDs urged to comply with regulation to ensure safety of children

Hattingh further added that residents must make sure that they have an escape should there be a fire in their homes.

“In the event of a fire, ensure you and your family have an escape plan. You should have at least two ways to exit a room in your home in case of a fire and ensure there is a safety door.

“The keys to the door should be placed at a predetermined centralised spot. Store any important documentation and emergency contacts in a fireproof safe,” said Hattingh.

Hattingh underlined her warning to the residents about the potential dangers of handling lithium-ion battery fires.

Given their high voltage and long life, lithium-ion batteries have proven to be a great fit for inverters; yet, water or other conventional methods are unable to put out such a fire.

ALSO READ: CoE gives locals cholera safety tips

“Lithium-ion fires don’t burn cleanly and can vent toxic gases into the surrounding area.

“If you have installed an inverter at home, we ask that you investigate whether your fire protection measures are adequate and whether they are suitable for lithium fires.

“Importantly these require a lithium fire extinguisher which should be placed close to your inverter or your battery bank,” Hattingh added.

Related Articles

Back to top button