Threat of home fires as Pretoria East residents get left in the dark

With predictions of another cold front hitting Gauteng tomorrow and many Pretoria East residents still stuck in the dark after the Wapadrand substation burnt down this week, residents are cautioned to not only watch their security, but also to be vigilant about the threat of residential fires.

Leon Muller, District Manager for Fidelity ADT says if residents do have an alarm system it will not deactivate when the power supply is interrupted however the duration will depend on how much battery power the system can rely on.

“Typically, in an extended outage period like this, most batteries would have powered down. There are a number of practical steps residents can take to ensure their security is not compromised during this time,” says Muller.

It is important to ensure that all automated gates and doors are secured and that residents are extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity to their security provider or the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Candles and touch-lights are handy alternatives to accommodate the lack of light but then there is always the threat of fire. He says the more frequent use of gas and candles can increase the risk of fire.

Six practical steps to follow:

* Do not leave candles and any open flames unattended, particularly when you go to bed.

* Ensure you have a couple of good torches with adequate battery supply. Each family member should have a torch.

* Invest in a home fire extinguisher and make sure it is serviced regularly.

* Consider a headlamp head light for moving around the home safely.

* Consider installing smoke detectors. Having a smoke detector is a safe, effective, and unobtrusive way of protecting your home against the dangers of fire. It acts as a valuable early-warning system. The detector will not pick up a naked flame but rather smoke or a smouldering fire. This is a key preventative measure that people should consider installing. Smoke detectors are most valuable when linked to an armed response service. An alarm notification will be sent to the control room when smoke is detected and the necessary help can immediately be dispatched.

* Develop and practise an escape plan – plan two ways out of every room! Ensure that all members of the household are aware of the fire drill procedures before an emergency occurs.

* Display your local fire department’s telephone number near the landline and store it on speed dial on your cell phone and then memorise it too.

Muller confirmed that Fidelity ADT would be increasing their proactive patrols over the weekend and encouraged all residents to keep warm and safe.