Emergency services warn community to be on high alert in the cold

With the cold weather closing in, the Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS) department is cautioning residents to be on high alert while keep themselves warm.

“Cold weather conditions will force different community members to use different heating mechanisms to keep warm,” said William Ntladi, district manager media liaison for DEMS.

“DEMS is closely monitoring the situation and is on high alert for any eventualities that might occur because of fires.

“People are requested to be on high alert throughout winter and not only for this period.”

Keeping matches and lighters out of the reach of children is one of the key elements to take care of.

Braziers and all types of heaters such as electrical, paraffin or gas heaters, should not be left unattended.

“Sleeping with a switched-on heater is still far too common a practice and it can have a treacherous outcome.

“Braziers, fireplaces and coal stoves produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide as some of the derivatives of the burning fuel and they need to be closely monitored at all times.

“Also make sure there is good ventilation in the area you use these items.

“The best solution to keep warm is to sleep under several blankets,” said Ntladi.

Veld fires near major routes can either be caused by spontaneous combustion, deliberate action or human errors such as lit cigarette butts being thrown onto dry grass or other combustible materials next to the road.

Vehicle pile-ups, crashes and accidents are likely to occur because of obscured vision.

Multiple shack fires, bricks-and-mortar structural fires, thatch roof structural fires and veld fires fuelled by strong winds can spread rapidly, causing massive destruction and loss of life to humans and animals.

Residents are advised to listen out for warnings on weather reports and to adhere to the safety tips from the officials.

“DEMS is always prepared to respond timeously to all incidents within the municipality,” said Ntladi.

“Communities are also expected to assist in mitigating the occurrences of emergencies.”

In case of emergency call 011 458 0911, 10177 or 112 from a cellphone.

Ensure that you have the emergency call centre numbers saved and visible at home.

Speak clearly on the phone when reporting an emergency.

Provide the operator with all the details required.

Do not end the conversation until all questions are answered.


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