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01 February 2022 Media Release – GRDM and stakeholders to install smoke detectors in Qolweni, Bitou

Media Release – GRDM and stakeholders to install smoke detectors in Qolweni, Bitou

For immediate release
01 February 2022

Early detection of home fires is critical in preventing deaths and injuries. These fires can smoulder for some time before bursting into flames, releasing deadly toxic gases. This is why the majority of fire-related deaths are associated with suffocation. Smoke disorientates people or incapacitates them so quickly that they cannot escape, in particular while sleeping. Studies have shown that the smell of smoke does not wake people up. However, if a potential fire is detected during the smouldering stage, it can reduce the risk of suffocating and provide enough time for people to escape a property.

Photo: Bitou Municipality

For these reasons, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in collaboration with Bitou Local Municipality and the Provincial Disaster Management Centre have initiated an innovative smoke alarm installation programme for high fire risk areas. The first roll-out will be for communities of Qolweni, a township in Plettenberg Bay.

Smoke detectors or smoke alarms, as we know them, is a device that senses smoke and issue an audible or visual alarm from the detector itself  to indicate a fire.

The project aims to:

– Reduce fire deaths, injuries and property losses;

– Educate residents about the importance of installing and maintaining smoke alarms;

– Assist residents to develop and practice an effective home fire escape plans;

– Assist municipalities in meeting its legislative requirements under the Municipal Structures Act, Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services Act;

– And it would create improved community relations between the residents and municipal fire departments.

Gerhard Otto, Manager for Disaster Management at GRDM, said: “To commence with the project, GRDM together with its stakeholders will appoint a team to install the detectors. Also, training and awareness will be provided during the installation of the smoke alarms within the community”.

The launch of the project is envisaged to take place in February this year.


Feature Image: Western Cape Government