The portal for public information to residents within the Victor Khanye Municipal area on safety



So... you are at home, and you think that the risk of fires are only at your work, at your home everything is safe, what could go wrong??



How many of us have this perception?  The question is, are your sanctuary really safe from the ultimate destruction tool?

Do you have measures in place to prevent an unfortunate outbreak of fire, or other emergency for that matter? What do you have if something does go wrong. and does your family know what to do or how to use the right equipment?


This page is intended to provide basic education in terms of fire at the house environment and to help to prepare for that unfortunate events.


Over the next few months we will try and cover as much as possible to ensure that you get the right information to help you make your home safe and protect your loved ones. As we progress, the pages will be saved as downloadable PDF documents for you to have available for future references. 


Ready?  Lets run into your house....

Fire Safety around the House - Part 1


Building fires, especially house fires have devastating effects on family and communities and are a common occurence, especially under the lower income groups. Based on reseach on statistical data there are numerous causes for these fires of which Arson is the worst type.


Common causes of house fires;

  •      Open flames

  •      Electrical

  •      Negligence, including cooking

  •      Deliberate fire setting

  •      Lightning

  •      Intensional fire setting (Arson)


The number one cause is cooking related incidents such as overheating oil, gas related use

House fires are posing a serious threat to children as they are vulnerable. Children left unsupervised play with matches and fires start as a result thereof.


What can we do to protect ourselves and to prevent fires at home?


Accidental fires are just that – accidents. But there are however ways to prevent these “accidents” to occur.

Lets start with what causes a fire to start and work from there.

For a fire to start four elements need to be in place, we call this the fire tetrahedron and it represent what is needed for a fire to start.

  •       First of all, you need something that can burn – the fuel. This can be paper, wood, liquid fuel and so much more.

  •       Secondly, you need something that can start the fire – we call this the ignition or heat source. An open flame from a match or lighter, an open heater, open electrical wires, etc.

  •       Then you need oxygen as the fire, such as us need oxygen to live, this one is always readily available as it is all around us.

  •       Lastly, we need these three items to be in sufficient amounts to cause the required chemical reactions to produce the fire.

  •       And then….    There is a fire burning.



Now that we know this, lets look at our homes;


Lets look at items that can provide the heat (ignition) for the fire;

  •      Faulty electrical wiring, or overloaded extension cables

  •      Burning candles

  •      Heaters/electric blankets

  •      Embers from a cigarette

  •      Fire places or bolas

  •      Gas equipment that are not maintained

  •      Children playing with matches or lighters

  •      Oil left unattended and on a stove top


There are more if you look around your house.


Now, if you add something that can burn such as paper, grass, wood, etc., a fire can start easily, and then… you have a fire!

So what can you do to prevent this fire from starting or growing. Now that becomes easy…


The first is to prevent these two items to be close to each other. Keep a distance clear from the things that can start a fire, like put matches and lighters at a safe place, or do not leave children unattended near open flames, or keep the blanket that you sit under away from the heater or bola (coal heater), Do not put too many appliances plugged into the same electrical outlet or on the same electrical extension cord.


Very important to parents, keep flammable liquids sealed and out of reach of children. Remember that most synthetic materials used widely in household furniture are highly flammable and can burn very fast once they start burning.

With this knowledge in mind here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind…


So to prevent a fire, you need to remove one of the three components, but you cannot remove oxygen as it is all around, that means that you need to remove the heat source or the fuel source.  


   Buy a fire extinguisher from a registered dealer to keep in the home at an easy to reach place, know how to use the extinguishers and its limitations.


   Familiarize yourself with your area’s emergency numbers


         Take note of warnings on electrical equipment, such as do not cover heaters


         Check electrical cables regularly for their condition and the load on them.


         Keep matches and lighters stored safely out of reach of children


         Keep open flames such as candles on a stable surface high enough or safe enough away from the reach of children.


         Stay low to the ground when there are smoke or fire when exiting the house (Smoke and heat will rise towards the ceiling and by staying low will 

         assist in preventing or minimizing inhalation of smoke or hot gases.


        Cover your mouth and nose wit a moist cloth, this will also minimize inhalation injuries


        Exit the house or building as soon as possible to prevent becoming trapped


        Smokers, make sure that the cigarette is properly extinguished in the

        appropriate manner.


        Even though it is not legally required in South Africa, it is a good practise to

            have a smoke detector connected to your alarm system installed and

            checked at least once a year


        Teach children on the dangers of flammable liquids


         If cooking with, or using gas, make sure the valve is properly closed

          after using it


         Store fuel away from where the devices are used


         If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP, ROLL


         Tackle the fire ONLY if it is safe to do so.




           Leave a room where a candle is burning, heater is on, fire in the fireplace is burning fiercely, oil is on the stove top, etc.


           Pack personal belongings before leaving the house in the event of a fire


        Try to put an oil fire on the stove out with water


           Open a closed door of a room suspected to be on fire


           Enter a room that is on fire


        Re-enter the house once you have exited away from the fire


           Use any gas devices with damaged or leaking hoses or connectors, rather replace the damaged item or replace the appliance


           Store fuel or flammable liquids in beverage containers




What to do when a fire breaks out


  •      Raise the alarm, let others in the house know that there is a fire

  •      Call the fire department immediately, even for small fires (it is easier to cancel the fire department if you manage to put the fire out yourself

             than to call upon them after all hope is lost.

  •      Evacuate your house and remain outside.

  •      If there is a lot of smoke in the room, crawl out on the floor.

  •      Know your emergency numbers!



Know how to use the fire extinguisher


It is important to know how to use a fire extinguisher and what you can use it on. The label on the fire extinguisher provide all these information, so familiarize yourself with the label. To use the fire extinguisher there is a very easy acronym to remember it by, which is P.A.S.S. the picture below explains this use process
Without these four components a fire cannot start or continue to burn. Think of a fire as a human. The fuel is the food (you need food to live),


Secondly, you cannot survive long in cold conditions without giving your body heat, the same, a fire needs heat to start and continue to burn).


Then there is the common factor, without oxygen, you cannot breathe and you will die, the same with a fire, it needs oxygen to continue burning. Then, lastly the chemical reaction, your body needs air, food and heat to be able to function and keep you alive, the same with a fire, it needs something to eat, breathe and keep warm in just the right amounts to keep burning and grow.

Fire Extinguisher explained





Capacity of extinguisher




Classes of fire / on what it can be used



Brief description of how to use the extinguisher


Sunday, 21 January 1900