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Jozi Safety kits to the rescue in Zandspruit shack fire Print E-mail
07 July 2017

The Jozi Safety kits handed to the residents of Zandspruit by the City of Johannesburg during the launch of the Winter Safety campaign in June came in handy on the night of Wednesday July 5 when members of the local safety team used the equipment to stop a fire that broke out in the Region C informal settlement from spreading.

Six shacks were burnt down and one person was slightly injured but before the fire could spread and cause more damage, members of the safety team, who had been given a basic firefighting training course by the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS), leapt into action, evacuated the residents and extinguished the blaze.

On June 1, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Safety Cllr Michael Sun launched the City’s 2017 Winter Safety campaign in Zandspruit and handed to the local safety team about 100 fire safety kits.

Each safety kit included a parasafe stove, burn kit to treat minor burns, solar lantern light, paraffin container with a safety cap, smoke detector, fire retard spray and a 7.25l bucket ‎to store water.

Every year, the Johannesburg EMS distributes a total of 1 000 safety kits to various vulnerable communities, including informal settlements, across the city to help prevent deadly fires during the cold winter season.

So on Wednesday night the Zandspruit safety team or community emergency management team knew exactly what to do when the fire broke out.

Johannesburg EMS Spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said the City was impressed with how the residents managed to stay calm during the fire and did what they were taught during the training. “It’s amazing how people can make informed decisions and prevent the loss of life and limb once they have all the information. It’s crucial for us to engage the community and have practical demonstrations to illustrate to them how we work,” said Mulaudzi.

“As the Johannesburg EMS, we have been putting in a lot of effort to ensure that we create resilient communities,” said Mulaudzi.

He said the community emergency management team played a crucial role in minimising the impact of the fire.

“Community management teams are able to keep fellow community members and their families safe during fire incidents,” said Mulaudzi.

He said it was easy for a fire to spread because the shacks were built close to one another. As a result, it became very difficult to control it. Mulaudzi added that the City was seeing the importance of equipping people with information and the necessary skills to deal with incidents.

Every year, the Johannesburg EMS spends R1-million on the purchase and distribution of the safety kits. The intervention was initiated in 2009.

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Last Updated on 10 July 2017