Fire – do’s & don’ts

Beautiful and hypnotic to watch… deadly as it ravages through South Africa’s beautiful landscape, destroying everything in its path. A natural phenomenon Fire causes untold damage and loss of lives to South Africans daily.

There are two fire seasons in South Africa.  The deadly dry summer months in the Western Cape that threaten our wine lands and our beautiful Table Mountain and the dry winter months in the rest of the country. The beauty of fire rests in its use to manage veld and forests, to restore grazing, to restore life to a previous barren landscape.  The use of fire is part of the holistic management of the environment in South Africa.

On the other side, uncontrolled wildfires cause billions of Rand of damage each and every year.  And lead to loss of livestock and human life.

Closer to home, fires devastate communities, homes and families.  The South African medical research council estimates that 3.2 % of South Africans – 1.6 million South Africans suffer burns annually caused by fire, with the vast majority of the sufferers coming from our poorer communities.


How many of you know what to do in the event that a fire breaks out in your home?  And more importantly, do you know what to do to safeguard your home from fire?


The leading cause of fires in the home are:

  • Electrical wires and plugs that are damaged and frayed
  • Candles left unguarded
  • Heaters / Electric blankets
  • Coal stoves
  • Cigarettes not properly disposed of
  • Gas leaks
  • Children playing with matches
  • Stove plate left on
  • Braai fires left unattended


As a start to safeguard your home never leave an open flame unguarded.

  • Dispose of your cigarette butts properly and make sure that it is out.
  • Teach children the dangers of playing with matches.
  • Always replace frayed cords and check your plugs to make sure that they are in good condition.
  • Install fire alarms throughout your house (as a minimum you should install one in the kitchen)
  • Have a fully serviced and tested small fire extinguisher – to keep in your home and your car.
  • Make sure that everyone in your family knows the fire emergency number: 10177


Do Not:

  • Try and put an oil fire out with water
  • Enter a room that is on fire or open a closed door of a room suspected to be on fire.
  • Never re-enter a burning building


  • Get out of the house or building as soon a possible
  • When exiting a room filled with smoke stay low to the ground
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth
  • Make sure that everyone is out of the home
  • Raise the alarm!
  • Call the Fire Department – even for small fires that may still continue to smoulder
  • If someone has been injured only put water on the burns and try and remove any tight clothing. Immediately call an ambulance.


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