Ekurhuleni Emergency Services’ PIER brings fire and life safety education closer to communities
The City of Ekurhuleni Emergency Services, through its Public Information Education and Relations (PIER) section, provides community outreach through its Fire and Life Safety Education programme. As the name suggest, the programme is aimed at preventing all injuries, not just fire and burn injuries. This is a comprehensive community fire and injury prevention programme designed to eliminate or mitigate, situations that endanger lives, health, property or the environment. The public education programme includes visits to local schools, community events and special population groups. Communities or schools can also schedule a visit to the City’s Basic Emergency Safety and Fire Education (BESAFE) centre or any of the fire stations.
Communities can request the services of the PIER section to attend events and provide fire and life safety education that includes information, fire prevention education and training and community engagement.
The PIER programmes are:
General safety around home.
Fire fighters are our friends
Playing with environmental print
Matches are not toys!
Crawl low under the smoke
Pot fire safety hints
Float like a duck
What’s hot and not hot.
The City of Ekurhuleni Emergency Services provides the above programmes and services to help reduce risks of fire and life threatening hazards. Community risk reduction programmes include assistance with educating communities in formal and informal settlement, schools and factories. Educational topics change as the risks change, ie winter awareness campaigns during winter and flooding during the rainy season in summer.
The goals of fire-prevention programmes include preventing loss of life, property damage, and downtime. Fires often cause disruption of business activities, loss of business documents and employee work hours, and liability claims resulting from the spread of fire to adjacent properties.
PIER section strives to protect the community through educational efforts, both conventional and unconventional. It is the emergency services aim that through its educational efforts, the effects of fire can be minimised for Ekurhuleni residents. The PIER sub-section is organised to foster, encourage and promote prevention, education and training in the areas of fire and burn prevention, community risk reduction and injury prevention to support projects that further the quality of life in the City and within the service areas of recognised fire service agencies.
Additionally, PIER works with their provincial counter parts to provide fire departments, public information officers, fire and life safety educators and other fire safety advocates with a standardised fire and life safety information and messages to the public.
Purposes of fire and life safety education
Fire and life safety education is aimed at educating individuals on various safety practices at work, school, on the road and in daily life. Educating the public is the most effective way to prevent the devastating effects of fires and other injuries, and to introduce strategies to deal with these emergencies. To accomplish this goal, the Ekurhuleni Emergency Services delivers fire and life safety education for residents, schools, and businesses.
The overarching purpose of fire and life safety education programmes is to reduce deaths, injuries and property loss. By helping increase knowledge about fire and life safety and modify attitudes and behaviour, fire and life safety educators serve as change agents in making progress toward this purpose.
Importance fire safety education
Fires destroy property, cause injuries and take lives. Fire safety training teaches workers how to recognise fire hazards, conduct a fire safety risk assessment, prevent a workplace fire and respond if a fire occurs.
Using the activities
As children participate in the safety activities, they learn how to identify problems and communicate their ideas and feelings about potentially dangerous situations. They learn how to think through problems and create solutions. As they physically act out the role of a safety helper or work through a safety procedure such as stop, drop, and roll, they learn how to use their bodies and minds in emergencies. Of course, just talking about safety, it also helps children deal with fears and emotions related to this important topic.
While introducing and engaging children in safety activities, be sure to allow plenty of time for them to share their thoughts and feelings. Slow down, listen carefully and watch learning blossom!
Building resilient communities
To build resilient communities and bring closer fire and life safety education to the community of Ekurhuleni, City procured Mobile BESAFE This mobile training unit decentralises the public education programmes of the BESAFE centre, thereby supplementing the training conducted at the centre. The mobile units bring training to communities who ordinarily would not or could not travel to the BESAFE centre. The mobile unit has a kitchen, bedroom and lounge to simulate a fire incident.
Source: William Ntladi, district manager media liaison: Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS)