Fire safety welcomed

2015-12-08 10:20
Mayor Patricia de Lille extinguishes the fire in a shack as part of a demonstration on Tuesday last week.

Mayor Patricia de Lille extinguishes the fire in a shack as part of a demonstration on Tuesday last week. ( Chevon Booysen )

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A fire safety campaign kicked off in Phumlani Village, Lotus River on Tuesday morning last week.
Emily Hendricks, a resident of Melon Street for 12 years, says she is ecstatic to be the first beneficiary in the partnership between Khusela Ikhaya project and the City of Cape Town.

Hendricks says her family had been affected by a shack fire three years ago.

“When our home was gutted in fire it was a traumatic experience. We had to rebuild and that was a stressful time for all of us,” Hendricks says.

She says they are very happy to finally see a solution to shack fires.

“I am very happy about this initiative. If it can save us from fires then I am very relieved,” she adds.
Phumlani Village Association chairperson Sidwell Kweba says they are very excited to welcome the initiative in their community.

“If we look at the recent event in Masiphumelele and how many people lost their lives and homes, it’s a sad situation. But thankfully, we now have this initiative where our informal settlements will be guarded against fires in a time that it is most anticipated,” Kweba says.

“For us it’s a great initiative and we are very excited. We have the opportunity to prevent it. Our residents now understand that this initiative is a benefit for the community,” Kweba adds.
Mayor Patricia de Lille attended a campaign demonstration next to Zeekoevlei High School, where she said the city saw an increase in the number of fires each year.
“Too often these fires result in loss of people’s possessions, important documents, their homes and, sadly, the loss of lives.
“This past weekend a number of fires in Masiphumelele, Joe Slovo, Khayelitsha, Wallacedene and Rylands left thousands homeless and six people lost their lives,” De Lille said.

She added the City of Cape Town conducted ongoing fire awareness campaigns to educate residents on the dangers of fire, as well as hazards, preventative measures and how they could help reduce the risk of fires.

“However, despite our best efforts, we are still seeing far too many fires that could have been avoided through cautious behaviour. Each year we see the devastation to communities and unnecessary loss of life. Our teams are on high alert and we are especially concerned about fires in informal settlements and those that affect backyarders,” she said.
De Lille introduced the launch of the Misa Umlilo Stop the Fire campaign, in which structures in four informal settlements will be painted with fire-retardant paint.
Khusela Ikhaya Paint is water-based, eco-friendly and fire-retardant that, when exposed to extreme heat, expands to form a heat shield.

The paint slows down the spread of fire. It also allows fire services to minimise the damage caused to surrounding structures.

Structures surrounding a shack painted with fire-retardant paint are most likely to stay intact to some extent after a fire.
550 structures in Phumlani Village will be painted.

The initiative will also be rolled out at 136 homes in Pook se Bos in Rylands, 104 homes in Flamingo Crescent in Lansdowne and 100 homes in Wag ’n Bietjie in Nomzamo.

“Community engagement has been conducted by officials in our human settlements directorate and the Khusela Ikhaya project team, who have engaged with community leaders and members with door-to-door interaction. This project will also see community members being employed as painters, with about 83 jobs created in these four areas,” De Lille explained.

The City will be spending just over R1m to paint the homes in Phumlani Village and Pook se Bos, while the contracting company, Transception, will be sponsoring the paint for Flamingo Crescent and Wag ’n Bietjie.

Khusela Ikhaya Paint is water-based, eco-friendly and fire-retardant. The paint slows down the spread of fire.

Residents of Phumlani Village kick off covering informal dwellings with fire-retardant paint.

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