With only a few weeks to go before winter officially kicks in, emergency services in Johannesburg is calling on residents – particularly those living in informal settlements – to be extra cautious when making use of paraffin stoves, candles and heaters.
Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Robert Mulaudzi, spokesperson for the emergency services, said they will remain on high alert.
The service will also intensify their winter fire safety campaigns, targeting the 189 informal settlements throughout the city since they are the most vulnerable to fires during winter.
Residents using gas heaters are urged to check their gas pipes, bottles and appliances regularly. With the first cold snap that was felt this past weekend, several power outages were also reported.
It forced some residents to make use of candles for light and paraffin stoves to cook.
Those who might be forced to make use of paraffin stoves are advised to put the stoves on a flat surface where it can’t fall or be knocked over.
They should also avoid cooking with big pots which are likely to fall from the paraffin stove and start a fire.
Individuals who make use of warehouses or abandoned buildings for accommodation are more at risk as there are not enough water connections and electrical connections.
This leads to illegal connections which is one of the main causes of fire reported during winter.
This past weekend, several households were plunged into darkness – and the main reasons for the outages, according to Eskom, were overloading of the system, as well as illegal connections.
Susan Steward, spokesperson for Budget Insurance said: “With it being Energy Month in South Africa – a month dedicated to promoting energy-saving tips – and with winter approaching, Budget Insurance has put together a helpful list of tips on how to keep your home as warm as possible, while at the same time, cutting down on the amount of electricity used in doing so.”
- Keep all doors and windows closed.
- Check all exterior doors for air leaks.
- Dry laundry outside, instead of in a tumble dryer.
- Only wash full loads.
- Pile on the blankets. An extra blanket on your bed in the winter months is often all it takes to beat the winter blues.
- Use a microwave instead of the oven because microwaves use less electricity.
- Have a hot shower. Not only will this warm you up quickly, but the steam from the hot water will raise moisture levels in the house, helping the ambient temperature feel quite a bit warmer.