Gauteng residents have been warned to be extra cautious in their attempts to keep warm this weekend, following the forecasted extremely cold weather.
Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Jacob Mamabolo urged residents to avoid using hazardous measures to stay warm.
The weather forecasts show that Gauteng will be hit by temperatures of zero degrees Celsius and below, this weekend.
MEC Mamabolo was particularly concerned for the most vulnerable in society. He said vulnerable residents, especially those living in shacks, compromised their own safety in an attempt to keep warm.
“Unattended candles are one of the main causes cited for the alarming number of shack fires in the province,” MEC Mamabolo said.
Fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and body burns are amongst the most common primary hazards associated with unusually cold weather.
“Such extreme weather patterns often drive our people to do whatever it takes to warm themselves up, even to the point of compromising or completely neglecting their own safety…
“We are making a loud call to our people to use fire cautiously, keeping in mind that all measures must be taken to keep fires from harming people and properties,” MEC Mamabolo said.
He urged residents to be extra careful when dealing with candles, heaters and homemade heating devices (imbaula) as they normally lead to fires, injury, damage and also death if left unattended.
“People must be wary of illuminating and flammable liquids such as paraffin. Research has proven that it takes only one minute and 40 seconds for a shack to be totally destroyed in case of a shack fire,” the MEC said. He also warned against illegal electrical connections which in some cases caused electrical sparks because of negligence and improper ways they are done, leading to fires.
“These high risk practices potentially increase in colder weather conditions as we are experiencing, hence we are making this important call,” MEC Mamabolo said.
Dos and don’ts
Never use open fire or charcoal-burning devices such as braziers (imbaula) inside the home, garage or basement, particularly if there is no proper ventilation. This will lead to smog.
Always locate heating devices away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
Never leave heaters unattended in rooms. This may pose a fire hazard.
Never go to sleep with heaters and other heating devices left on.
Do not place a space heater close to anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture or bedding. Never cover your space heater.
Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
Never leave children unattended near a heater or open fire.
Make sure that the cord of an electric heater is not a tripping hazard and do not run the cord under carpets or rugs.
If there is a power failure:
Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns rather than candles, if possible.
Never leave lit candles unattended.
Source : SAnews.gov.za