Two major incidents within less than a week in separate Metros in South Africa
The last week saw two major incidents in South Africa captivating the public, media and emergency services as they watched them unfold. The structural fire that broke out at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg on Friday, 16 April 2021 followed by the wildfire on Table Mountain in Cape Town under extreme weather conditions on Sunday, 18 April 2021, which spread to the built environment. Both incidents challenged the relevant responding services for different reasons.
Fire safety and evacuation policy and procedures are the first line of defence during structural fires, preceded by fire detection and suppression systems’ installation and maintenance with fire doors a critical element of fire protection.
Extreme weather will always be the nemesis of any wildfire. The importance of prescribed burns and firebreaks cannot be emphasised enough.
These two incidents are reported on separately in the FRI Newsletter, using information and photos/videos supplied by various services and agencies.
The important issue we want to raise is that both incidents required a multi-agency response and as such, the incident command system, regular training involving all relevant services and agencies and MOUs are of the utmost importance. It is not a case of maybe in the future but rather when and where next.
Prefire/incident planning must happen in advance, not only on paper but practiced. Let’s trust that any challenges faced during these incidents will be discussed with all involved and be open for discourse so that any of the challenges faced, can become part of training sessions and open dialogue between agencies.
We commend all responding agencies during these incidents for their commitment, response and dedication and wish the injured a full recovery. MUCH RESPECT!
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Quote of the week
“Being a leader is like being a lady. If you have to go around telling people you are one, you aren’t” Margaret Thatcher
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