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Prevent veld fires

JOHANNESBURG – Prepare for the dry winter season in Joburg – prevent veld fires and learn some safety tips.

In the wake of the Muizenburg fires that shocked South Africa as a whole, Emergency Management Services (EMS) spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi provides veld fire safety measures.

Mulaudzi said, “Veld fires are a risk to life, property and environment. These fires will continue to burn for as long as the weather is favourable and there is vegetation to burn.”

Asked about the severe fires in Cape Town and whether that could happen in Johannesburg, he said, “During this time of the season, the City of Joburg EMS responds to a large number of veld fire incidents through all the seven city regions.”

Mulaudzi said [the incidents] they have witnessed in the Western Cape and those during the end of August every year – with at least one incident a day – can be very strenuous to firefighters because these fires can burn for days, if not weeks.

The following are some of the causes:

1. Reckless disposal of cigarettes butts

2. Burning fires in metal drums at bus stops while waiting for the bus

3. Land clearing

4. Deliberate fire setting

5. Children playing with matches

6. Improper household ash disposal.

For the above mentioned reasons communities throughout the city must be able to manage or eliminate this risk by drawing up preventative or corrective action, according to Mulaudzi.

Control tips:

1. Prepare fire breaks on their side if there is a reasonable risk of veld fires.

2. Have the necessary equipment, protective clothing and trained personnel to extinguish these fires.

3. Avoid throwing cigarettes buds on the ground.

4. Have grass beaters handy to extinguish the fire.

5. Always have the emergency number handy to call emergency services 10177 on Telkom landlines or 112 on your cellphones.

6. Sand can be a very effective method of veld fire control since water will not be readily available.

7. Visit your nearest Besafe centres for more information on life and fire safety education, lessons are offered for free by our trained community educators through our public education section.

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