Municipality urges residents to mitigate fires

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-The Keetmanshoop Municipality says although it is mandated and obliged to extinguish fires that erupt at the town, the prevention of such blazes should be the priority of residents.

Keetmanshoop Municipality’s senior local economic development manager Jegg Christiaan says, the new fire station that is under construction will be adequately equipped to handle fires at the town, but he stressed residents are obliged to prevent the eruption of such fires.

The town has seen fires destroy several homes over the years, especially in the informal settlement. Christiaan has urged residents to do their part in ensuring that incidences of fire are reduced if not eliminated, saying although municipality is ready in case of  fires, prevention is key.

“Whenever a fire occurs it’s the responsibility of the municipality to provide a service to extinguish those fires, but the first thing is to prevent the fire from happening,” he stated.

He called on residents to take necessary precautions to avoid fires, by refraining from illegal electricity connections, using cheaper unlicensed electricity installers, who he said leave residents exposed, and further urged residents to be extra cautious when handling gas cylinders.

Despite the new fire brigade being equipped, the challenge remains at informal settlements, that are prone to shack fires while fire fighters find it difficult to access the affected areas due to unplanned structures that prevent fire trucks from reaching some shacks.

He narrated that, even when the fire brigade is quick to respond to a call, they lose time trying to navigate the best possible route and this is sometimes not fruitful, which means people lose lives or property that might have been rescued if there was an easier route.

“The big challenge in the informal settlement is access to the actual place where the fire is, it’s an unplanned area, with narrow pathways where fire trucks can’t pass, meaning you lose time trying to find a way to get to the fire,” he explained.

Christiaan further said there seems to be animosity towards the fire brigade from residents, saying that people claim they are always late responding to fire emergencies, but he said this is not the case, saying that the fire-engines and fighters are ready every hour He called for cooperation from the residents, whenever a fire occurs.

Another challenge for firefighters, that was noted is the fact that shacks are located too close to each other.

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