Getting ready for fire season

2015-06-12 06:00
BELOW: Nompilo Zondi from Working on Fire in Kokstad gives a presentation on the work they do.
Photos: ntuntu dweba

BELOW: Nompilo Zondi from Working on Fire in Kokstad gives a presentation on the work they do. Photos: ntuntu dweba

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STAKEHOLDERS gathered at the Greater Kokstad Municipality Boardroom on Monday to discuss their state of readiness for disasters that may occur at this time of the year.

The meeting, called by the GKM Community Development Services manager Nyaniso Msiya, was attended by government department including, transport, health, Correctional Services, representatives from SAPS, RTI, Mount Currie Farmers’ Association, EG Fire Services, Working on Fire, Cogta, Harry Gwala District Municipality and councillors.

The purpose of the meeting was to plan how to manage and mitigate possible disasters that may occur in and around Kokstad. “Kokstad is a disaster-prone area­ due to snow, water pollution, drought, fires and extreme weather. We must first understand that a disaster­ is anything can kill people in numbers. It can be a progressive, sudden and widespread and difficult to manage.”

Msiya said that disasters are everybody­and#039;s problem. “There reason we invited various government­ departments and organisations­ is because disaster is an issue that includes everyone and everyone has a role to play,” Msiya said.

Nompilo Zondi from Working on Fire in Kokstad outlined their strategy­ on fire prevention. “What we do is we educate communities about the dangers of fires. We host fire-safety workshops where we talk about the causes of fire, the behaviour of fire and the impact of fires.”

She said they have 22 team members who have to be mentally stable and physically fit all the time.

Keith Murgatroyd from EG Fire Services explained the importance of getting training on how to handle fire extinguishers in households and businesses. “Prevention is better than cure. Basic training on how to handle a fire extinguisher could be the difference between a huge disaster and a small blaze,” he said.

He said it is compulsory that fire extinguishers are serviced every year.

Manelisi Ndaba from Cogta who also spoke on behalf of Harry Gwala District Municipality said they are in discussions with Alfred Nzo District Municipality to formulate a co-operating agreement that will allow districts bordering each other to work together in case of a disaster.

A local disaster management forum, that will sit in council meetings to discuss issues pertaining to disaster management, was also established.

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