Thursday, 28 March 2013

City appeals to residents to be safe over the Easter Weekend and school holidays

The City of Cape Town appeals to residents to look after both their own safety and the safety of others during the Easter weekend’s festivities and the school holidays.

All Capetonians are reminded that they can call the 107 number in the event of any life and/or property – threatening emergencies. By dialling this number you are able to gain access to the Metro Police, Fire Services, Ambulance, Traffic Services as well as the City’s Disaster Risk Management Department.

The 107 Public Emergency Communication Centre will be on standby to receive calls on the 107 number (from a Telkom landline) and on 021 480 7700 from a cell phone (enter the number on your cell phone as a speed dial).

Thus far this week, the City of Cape Town’s Metro Police has embarked on a safety awareness campaign. Officers have been deployed across the city with the focus on driver and vehicle fitness. This increased vigilance will continue over the long weekend, and no tolerance will be shown to offenders.

“I would like to urge all motorists to drink responsibly and to abstain from driving while intoxicated,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith. “Remember it is not just your own life you are gambling with when you get behind the wheel after having one too many.”

“Furthermore, all residents are reminded that no drinking of alcoholic beverages will be permitted on our beaches. Beach safety is of paramount importance, and we request the cooperation of residents in preventing unnecessary injury and death in our city over the long weekend,” he added.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Services would also like to appeal to residents to remain aware of the dangers posed by electricity, paraffin and open flames.

The following tips will help keep you and your family safe from fire

Using electricity safely

  • Do not make illegal electrical connections as they contribute towards fires
  • Do not overload your electrical circuits – in other words, don’t keep more than four plugs on one extension (with your heater, your kettle, your stove…)
  • Service your electrical components regularly and replace faulty ones
  • Switch off all electrical appliances at the wall at night or when leaving your home
  • When you are cooking (on any sort of stove, gas, electric or paraffin), do not leave the pot on the stove unattended
  • Electrical connections must be professionally installed and properly earthed with the correct circuit breakers installed
Using paraffin safely

  • Always handle paraffin with extreme care, as it is poisonous and can burn your skin even if unlit. Paraffin is often sold in containers contaminated with chemicals such as petrol, or mixed with methylated spirits. This can cause it to flare dangerously or even explode
  • Paraffin can cause severe burns, and paraffin stoves that are knocked over or explode are a major cause of injuries and fires in informal settlements. Paraffin also emits harmful fumes when ignited
  • Never leave a paraffin appliance unattended. It only takes a second for a gust of wind, pet or child to knock over a light or stove
  • Make sure paraffin appliances are on a flat, firm surface
  • Do not put a cloth under a paraffin appliance. A child or pet could pull the trailing end and the cloth will then burn, fuelling the fire
  • Always have a bucket of sand nearby when using a paraffin appliance. Water will not extinguish a paraffin fire and can make matters worse by spreading the flames. Paraffin fires can only be extinguished using sand or a fire extinguisher
Safety around an open flame

  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach
  • Cut candles in half to prevent them falling over – and use a candle holder
  • Do not smoke in bed

How to prevent informal settlement fires
  • Build dwellings a good distance (at least 3 m) apart to prevent fires from spreading. Make sure this space is kept open
  • Keep a close eye on paraffin stoves. Don't cook near a window with a curtain
  • Make sure the stove doesn't fall over, which may burn children or cause a fire
  • Make sure candles are secure and can't fall over. Don't go to sleep with candles still burning
  • Teach children about the dangers of fire
  • Watch out for discarded cigarette butts
  • Be aware of the dangers of illegal and faulty electricity connections, which also cause fires
  • Keep a bucket handy to fill with water so that you can extinguish flames easily
  • Keep a bucket of sand available to put out paraffin fires
  • Keep roads and access to dwellings clear at all times
  • Do not block roads with possessions when there is a fire
  • Do not prevent or disrupt the work of fire crews fighting fires

Issued by: Integrated Strategic Communication and Branding Department, City of Cape Town

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