Partnership to improve Kouga fire safety and prevention
07 October 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202020806
FOR firefighters, immediate access to a reliable water supply is crucial to successfully fighting fires and preventing loss of life and damage to property. To enable this, Hollard Insure is partnering with the Kouga Local Municipality to pilot an initiative to inspect all the fire hydrants in the municipality.
The initiative was launched on 21 September and will run until mid-December 2020.
“We recognise that the country faces a complex fire problem that the government cannot address alone. We need public-private partnerships like this to optimise efforts of fire services, thereby significantly helping to reduce fire risks and losses,” said Dr Moses Khangale, Head of Fire Services at the National Disaster Management Centre.
Tafadzwa Samushonga, from Hollard Insure said managing fire risk was part of its business. “But this is not just about the bottom line for us. We responded to the call for such a public-private partnership because we’re also committed to enabling better futures for the people in our communities, whether they are our customers or not.”
The initiative also aims to create temporary employment for unemployed local youth. Nine young people have been recruited and are currently receiving training to perform the work required. This will include locating fire hydrants and recording their GPS coordinates; identifying the categories of the hydrants; cleaning, marking, and painting the hydrants as well as testing water pressure.
All level 1 lockdown regulations, including social distancing, are being adhered to and the temporary staff have been supplied with the necessary personal protective equipment, including face masks and sanitiser, to ensure their safety and that of the community.
An added advantage of the initiative is that it will produce reliable data for the Water Services Department on areas requiring intervention, as all faults will be referred to this department.
“Fires naturally have a significant impact on our communities,” said Dewald Barnard, Kouga municipality Chief Fire Officer. “We’re keen to establish the feasibility of this initiative, and to see the implementation of a programme that will mark a big step towards improving the effectiveness of our fire services.”
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks thanked Hollard Insure for partnering with the municipality to keep its communities safe. “This is a big step in the right direction,” he said.