The fire season has begun. Simple safety tips can help protect our property, and even lives.
To be prepared, make sure you have all the necessary emergency contact numbers on your cellphone and on a notice near your landline. These numbers include the local fire service, your next-door neighbours, estate managers, farm managers and farm labourers.
If you see a fire, contact your municipal fire services first – and immediately – even if the fire is on your property. Give the fire services as much information as possible regarding the position of the fire, its size, the wind direction, access roads and identifiable reference points.
If the fire is on your property, you should then call your next-door neighbour. If you are member of a Fire Management Unit, tell the FMU representative. He will make contact with the FPA regional manager, who will offer assistance to the local or district fire services.
Check your fire-fighting equipment, to ensure it is in good working condition. If possible, do simulation training with your staff and family members. They should all know your safety procedures. Their safety always comes first.
To prevent fires, don’t use any mechanical tools in the veld when the Fire Danger Rating is high or extreme. Never light open fires, except at designated fire places. Make sure that your staff, family and visitors all know the safety rules, which include that no one may smoke or make fires in the veld.
Landowners need permits to burn fire breaks or carry out controlled burns. During the high fire season, only special permits are issued, and these are awarded through co-ordination between the local and district fire services, conservation organisations such as CapeNature, and the FPA.
For more safety tips, contact your local FPA.