How to prevent fires in our communities experiencing load-shedding this winter.

Every year hundreds are lost in fires in our informal and formal settlements, especially in winter.

South Africa has seen a marked increase in the amount of home-based fires in and around the country. According to Eyewitness News, a total of 172 people have lost their lives due to fires with subsequent figures being nowhere near as close as this since 2005. Most of those informal settlements are in the Western Cape. 

With 1195 fires in 2021 and hundreds of lives lost due to negligence, raising awareness of the vital importance of fire safety has never been more crucial. Understanding all safety measures when using gas, paraffin, electricity, or candles is a preventative step to ensuring you keep both your investments and your family safe this winter.


Electricity - Safest option but not always available

Obviously, electricity is a safer option, but the real problem lies with access to it. Whether it be load shedding or poorly maintained grids, we are at the mercy of intermittent and unreliable power distribution for the foreseeable future. Power surges caused by the constant flipping on and off the of the substations means that your appliances, and your home by extension, may be at constant risk

Because of this, there are some important safety measures that you need to follow. Knowing that some people in both formal and informal settlements sometimes use small single or double plate stoves to warm up the house, there is added risk of a fire extending to other people's homes as well. Never use a stove as a heater. You are simply asking for a fire hazard.

Beyond this, practice good habits such as ensuring all unused appliances are switched off at the wall. Do not pull plugs out by the cord. Instead, ensure that you have a steady grip on the plastic cover before removing it. If you have children around the house, always cover the plugs and never leave electrical wires exposed.


Gas - always be aware of gas being used in your home

Most fires break out due to leakages or failures in the system. Always have your gas cylinders installed and maintained by a certified and qualified technician. A very specific and easily identifiable smell is added to LPG. If you smell gas, immediately turn off all gas supplies and open all doors and windows.

Always store your gas cylinders in a well-ventilated area and make sure it is away from any dry leaves or vegetation. Unvented gas heaters should not be used in small-enclosed areas like bedrooms due to the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning. 


Candles - a fire hazard

Using candles is never actually a preferred choice but we often have to use them during load-shedding. In areas that have limited access to electricity, this is the norm. As such, candles have become a source of many fire outbreaks in numerous informal settlements and have left a lot of people homeless.

When using candles always remember to keep burning candles away from curtains, decorations, and combustible materials and never leave them unattended. Blow them out if you leave the room.

Place burning candles in sturdy, non-flammable holders. Be careful around children, never leave them alone with a lit candle, and never allow them to move around with or handle a lit candle. 


Paraffin - Safe to handle - NOT child friendly

Parrafin is used for both stoves and heaters. The problem comes with handling and storage issues. Paraffin can be easily mistaken for water by anyone, especially children, so never store paraffin in bottles that can be mistaken for consumables. Always keep paraffin out of reach from children at all times.

Don’t forget to switch off the paraffin stove or lamp before you head to sleep. In fact, do not leave it unattended at all. Never mix paraffin with any other flammable liquid, especially petrol and always buy your paraffin from a reputable dealer. This is because impure paraffin can cause an increase in harmful emissions that could result in further health problems. 

Considering using gas? You can order your gas at Simsgas and have it delivered at the comfort of your own home.

Contact SimsGas and start enjoying the benefits of efficient, sustainable, and cost-saving LPG today.

We will deliver to your home or business, so order today!

Johannesburg Phone: 011 494 4232
Durban Phone: 031 902 6533
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Or fill in your gas supply query here: 

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: 032 551 2055
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