Shack Fire School Project 2012
This project was initiated just on a year ago by my partner Carl Nagel and myself. We have both been involved in the property and security industry for many years. Our main business is importing security related equipment into S.A.
After reading an article in the local paper about the devastating fires that plague our informal sector we decided to try and find a means to assist. Local businesses with experience and infrastructure have the necessary skill set to make a difference that government departments and citizens can benefit from.
Researching the problem and studying statistics led us to believe we could be of assistance. The technology and equipment to fight fires is readily available, and not excessively expensive, the problem facing fire fighters in the informal sector is clear but complex. The density and materials used in building informal housing restricts fire fighters from quickly accessing these homes. The basic problem facing shack dwellers is power and heating, which are resolved using illegal electrical connections and basic heating and lighting methods. This problem is not going away in the foreseeable future. RDP housing has actually increased the risk as owners rent out spaces in their properties to the informal sector. The Fire department cannot respond in time and gain access to these properties.
It takes just 1minute and 40 seconds for a shack fire to destroy a home, no fire department can respond this quickly. The educational efforts by government although commendable have not had the desired effect. The problem needs a different approach. It would be great if the government could provide fire extinguishers, fire blankets and heat alarms to every dwelling but this is financially implausible.
When a home fire starts there is a “first strike” window of mere seconds to respond and extinguish it. This is not possible without equipment or instant access to running water or buckets of sand. How to overcome this life threatening situation has been our objective.
Education and equipment together with a means of a self a sustaining program to deliver both to the communities that are most at risk is an obvious priority.
This has been the catalyst for the idea of this project. How to educate, and provide the equipment to the necessary disadvantaged communities.
After countless meetings with and communicating with inter alia;
DA Premier Helen Zille
Fire Department and all sector heads – Western Cape
C.O.C.T Safety and Security – Alderman J.P. Smith
Disaster Management – Western Cape
Paraffin Safety Association
Ministry of Education – Western Cape
Department of Education – Western Cape
Local Business leaders, NGO’s and NPO”s
We have decided that local community support and participation with the commercial sector will be crucial in making this initiative a success.
We also launched the “School Project” in order to raise awareness and educate school children of all communities to the inherent dangers of fire. The fund raising school initiative, with the consent of school principles and governing bodies will achieve 2 goals. Raising funds for the schools and providing fire extinguishers to the disadvantaged communities. With the assistance of the Fire Department, Disaster Management and the Paraffin Safety Association we will demonstrate, communicate and educate school children. We will endeavour to “twin” advantaged schools with disadvantaged schools. The Fire Department will demonstrate the equipment and Disaster Management/Paraffin Safety Association will provide the educational material.
For every fire extinguisher that a pupil from an affluent school purchases we will donate an extinguisher to a pupil in a disadvantaged school. Education is a core element to the delivery of the equipment of both sets of schools and pupils. Once we have reached our target or the timeline we will again mobilise the Fire Department and Disaster Management to visit the disadvantaged schools to hand over the equipment in a similar fashion. At this stage we envisage that local government leaders, community leaders and the media could be invited.
The prime objective is once again to try and ensure that we provide the life saving equipment desperately needed in our disadvantaged communities and also to the affluent suburbs where there is a need.
Our parallel objective is to approach the commercial sector leaders or so called “Captains of Industry” to afford them the chance to participate in the project. The obvious benefit is marketing opportunities for companies through the branding or “Honour Bands” on the equipment itself. This will enable companies to achieve market penetration in areas that have not been largely accessible through this medium.
LEAD SA could be instrumental in carrying this message to a larger audience that we could achieve at this point in time.
Shack Fire Project 2012
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