’tis a season to be JOLLY
(By Aneliseka Mangxila & Lilitha Tshona)
The festive season is a time to be home with our families, relaxing and preparing for 2021. However, we still need to be aware of our surroundings and cautious about how we celebrate.
The best way to stop fires from happening is to follow these three steps:
- Awareness: During this time of year people are reckless and everyone is in a relaxed state. Most fires during this time are caused by human interaction, whether it be in the rural areas or urban areas – it is critical to know the ‘hotspot’ places in your surrounding area, the same way you would know that there is a high fire risk during thunderstorms, in fire season.
- Prevention: PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE. Reducing fuel loads in your property, having designated areas for a braai, educating nearby communities by giving out fire awareness material, or doing fun training for the kids – this can assist in preventing fires from happening and reduce the number of fires that occur. Ensure too that you have a “defensible space” around your house, especially those who live on the Urban/Wildland Interface.
- Preparedness: Be prepared for unexpected events, be part of a Fire Protection Association (FPA), have fire breaks around your property, have working fire-fighting equipment for fire suppression, and having emergency maps for your property is essential.
Things to look out for during this joyous period:
- Do not leave any fires (braai and cooking) unattended and ensure they are properly extinguished when finished.
- Keep matches out of reach of children.
- Fireworks should be used in designated areas.
- When burning waste, fires must be completely killed afterwords.
- Always report any smoke or fires that are suspicious.
- Keep yards and gutters free from any debris or any old vegetation.
- Remember to teach your family emergency evacuation plans and what to do when there is a fire.
- Never leave candles & lanterns unattended and position them in a safe area with nothing next to them that can catch alight.
- Christmas trees should be placed 1 meter away from heat sources.
- When driving through fire smoke, drive slow and put lights on.
This is a time to be happy, remember the ones who have passed on, and celebrate the goals that have been achieved for this year. We thank God, that we have been able to live through another year and we wish everyone a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.