City of Cape Town officially opens Sir Lowry’s Pass Fire Station
The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service continues to bring services closer to communities with the official opening of Sir Lowry’s Pass Fire station, the fourth fire station in the Eastern District and the 32nd in the Metro. “The City continues to invest in the safety and health of communities to ensure essential services are available to residents. Fire stations are centres of emergency response and the frontline personnel deployed work hard to safeguard lives and homes when called out to incidents. The location of the fire station, which has been operational since July 2020, is based on the growing demand presented by surrounding areas. From this station, fire fighters will be able to respond quickly to possible fires in Sir Lowry’s Pass and neighbouring areas”, said Executive Mayor Dan Plato. The completion of the Sir Lowry’s Pass fire station has brought the number of fire stations within the city to 32, with a total number of 944 fire fighters, including those who are currently in training.
Sir Lowry’s Pass will cover Riemvasmaak, Uitkyk Informal Settlement and Rasta Camp Nomzamo, Lwandle, Sir Lowry’s Pass and Chris Nissen Park up to the eastern boundary between the Gordon’s Bay and Grabouw area.
“The location was chosen so that residents benefit directly as it not only improves response times, but also allows for direct access to an essential service”, said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
Furthermore, the newly completed extension of the Onverwacht Road, which was anticipated and assisted in guiding the location of the station, will speed up response times.
The fire station has an engine room with one fire engine, one support fire vehicle, currently seven fire fighters per shift and additional seasonal fire fighters during the summer season.
In addition, the station has a medical treatment room, which is available on a 24-hour basis to treat and stabilise patients before transportation to healthcare facilities.
There is also a retention dam on site that will be used to reduce the use of potable water for ablution facilities.
“The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service has a proud tradition of service and we hope the new station will become an integral part of the community. I call on the community to embrace this facility and support our staff in uniform who put their own lives at risk for others”, said Alderman Smith.
Apart from responding to fires, the City’s Fire and Rescue Service is also equipped to assist with special service calls, including trauma, assault, motor vehicle accidents and hazardous material spills.
There has been a marked reduction in the number of these calls in the last two financial years, since the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown regulations. From 10 371 special service calls in 2018/19, the number dropped to 8 500 in 2019/20 and even further to 7 203 in 2020/21.
“This drop in special service calls means our Fire and Rescue Service responded to fewer motor vehicle accidents and fewer trauma cases and had fewer people walk into their stations requiring medical treatment for injuries. It is one more example of the impact of the curfew and intermittent alcohol bans over the past 16 months. We are also seeing it in our enforcement statistics and of course it has also been evident in the dramatic reduction in trauma cases in our hospitals”, said Alderman Smith.
The last twelve-month reporting period saw a marked increase in overall fire incidents. The big driver was vegetation fires, although residential (formal and informal dwelling) fires also increased by between three and four percent year-on-year.
The number of fatalities increased from 170 to 188. Just over half of those who died (54 percent) were adult males.
“The increase in fire incidents could be due to any number of factors, including arson, human error or negligence but also weather conditions. The City continues to focus on scaling up fire fighting resources, with additional fire stations like Kommetjie Road that has opened its doors in the last year but also investing in equipment and human resources. Fire safety education and awareness too is ongoing, although these efforts have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We appeal to the public to do their bit in ensuring that their environment is fire safe. Make sure that stoves or other cooking and heating devices are on stable surfaces, that electrical sockets are not overloaded and that electrical work is carried out by certified electricians. More importantly, when working with open flames or any flammable substances, never leave these unattended and keep children away from lighters or matches. If you are able to, fit smoke detectors in your home and acquire fire extinguishers, but more importantly, make sure you and your family know who to call in the event of a fire. Also, if you see a vegetation fire, do not assume that someone else has reported it”, added Alderman Smith.
Source: City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service media office