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The City of Cape Town hosted an event in Asanda Village today to share information with residents about preventing fires and to commemorate International Day for Disaster Reduction. Read more below:

The City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre and Fire and Rescue Service today conducted a public awareness session in Asanda Village, Strand, focusing on the dangers of fires in informal settlements. This included a fire and life safety programme and a vehicle display.

The theme for International Day for Disaster Reduction this year is ‘Live to Tell’, and the City educated residents and handed out equipment with the aim of preventing fires and disasters. Teams distributed hand-held fire extinguishers, fire blankets, solar-powered lamps, and warning devices such as horns to backyard residents at risk in the area.

Each year, the summer season sees an increase in the number of informal household structure fires across the city and too often these fires result in the loss of lives and homes.The City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre, together with the Fire and Rescue Service, conducts more than 800 fire safety awareness sessions and educational campaigns per year. These sessions focus on residents who live in informal settlements or in backyards, alerting them to the dangers of fire, identifying potential hazards and preventative measures, as well as how the community can work to reduce the risk of fires. This forms part of the City’s commitment to creating a safe city, which seeks to identify, prevent or reduce the occurrence of disasters and soften the impact of hazards that cannot be prevented.

Despite the City’s best efforts, there are still far too many devastating fires that are caused by negligent and careless behaviour and could thus have been avoided. According to the City’s records, 131 people died as a result of fires in informal settlements last year.

The City therefore focuses on educating residents from a young age. Today learners from Silukhanyo Primary School in Nomzamo were part of the awareness session.

‘Empowering children in terms of fire safety is crucial in the prevention and control of fires. There more people know, the better. This ensures that residents of all ages are prepared and know what do if a fire breaks out.

‘Vulnerable residents are frequently the victims of fires and suffer the worst consequences. The City will continue to intensify efforts to ensure that residents living in informal settlements are safe,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

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