BY REGINALD KANYANE
COMMUNITIES in North West have been warned to be vigilant when using fire to void injuries or loss of life this winter.
ER24 spokesperson, Chitra Bodasing said people need to remember safety first when trying to stay warm this winter.
“It is not exceptional for emergency personnel to get called out to residential fires especially during winter. Paramedics treat people for smoke inhalation or severe burn injuries frequently during this season.
“The communities need to be aware of overloading of plugs, makeshift fires left unattended and the incorrect or negligent use of heaters are some of the contributing factors to fires,” Bodasing said.
Those using heat sources like heaters need to make sure that they are in good working condition before use.
“Please check up the cords and other components are not damaged. If you use a gas heater, inspect it to ensure there are no leaks. If valves, pipes or other components of the heater are damaged, either replace the parts that can be replaced or buy a new heater.
“Leaking gas is extremely dangerous and may result in an explosion. Also ensure that there is proper ventilation when using gas heaters. People also tend to use electric blankets during winter. Please ensure plugs are not overloaded or damaged. Before using an electrical blanket, ensure that it is not torn. Also if you have a fireplace, ensure you maintain it. Have the chimney inspected and cleaned,” Bosading added.
The ER24 spokesperson pointed out that people also need to ensure that they make the small fire enough to be able to control.
“It is also important to install smoke detectors and to test them regularly to ensure that they work. Keep a fire extinguisher at home. Check your windows and ensure that they open easily. You may need to use a window as an escape should there be a fire.
“Keeping a ladder at home is advised especially if you live in a multi-storey house. Have an escape plan and ensure all members of the family know what to do and where to go in case of a fire at home. Also ensure all emergency exits are clear,” she said.
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo also shared the same sentiments. He urged community members to be alert.
“We urge people to be careful with fire during this winter season. This will assist in preventing winter-related home fires. We urge our people to invest in a fire extinguisher.
“This will help to quickly put out fire before it causes more damage. Children must not be left unattended around fires. People must also be cautious when using candles and paraffin,” Mahumapelo said.
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