As Cape Town’s dry season approaches, Mustadafin Foundation urges all residents to be fire-conscious.  Capetonians are urged to do their bit in reducing the number of fires and help keep their community safe. Mustadafin Foundation, a local disaster relief non-profit organisation, actively helps communities in need when disaster strike and provides easy tips for preventing fires this season.

“Fires in Cape Town have become a major risk especially in informal settlements. The strong winds associated with summer can cause great havoc when citizens are careless and don’t monitor flammable objects. Heat-based objects should always be attended to and properly monitored. Residents in these communities should be properly informed on what to look out for and how they can prevent a fire from starting in the first place,” explains Ghairunisa Johnstone, Director at Mustadafin Foundation.

Mustadafin Foundation offers these fires prevention tips this summer:

  1. Check flammables – Monitor all flammable objects carefully. Candles, cigarettes, matches, lighters and appliances can all cause great harm if left unattended. Also ensure that no curtains or flammable textiles are near an open flame. “Fires can be extinguished by pouring water over it or by covering it with sand or clothing. However, the best advice is to not to leave these objects unattended or in the hands of children. Make sure candles are blown out before going to bed and that heating devices are properly switched off. Also, don’t throw cigarette stumps out of vehicles or windows as this can cause fires,” says Johnstone.
  2. Monitor electrical equipment – If you have electrical devices in your home, make sure that they are properly serviced to ensure there are no faults. Do not overload your electrical extension with more than four plugs in one unit. “It is also advisable that you switch off all appliances on the wall when you are leaving your home,” advises Johnstone.
  3. Be informed about the dangers of paraffin – “Paraffin appliances are the most commonly used heating devices in our community and also one of the most dangerous if not handled correctly. Keep children away from paraffin and use with caution, even when unlit. Make sure paraffin appliances are on a clean, dry and firm surface with no blankets, clothes or cloths nearby. Especially for those using paraffin appliances a lot, it is highly recommended that you have a bucket of sand nearby to extinguish a fire quickly,” recommends Johnstone.
  4. Build firebreaks around your dwelling – If you live near the bush or open fields, make sure you have firebreaks around your home to minimise the probability of veld fires entering your property. “Small precautions can save your home and maybe even your loved ones. Pick up all leaves, twigs and litter around your home that can potentially fuel fires,” guides Johnstone.
  5. Invest in a fire extinguisher – Keep a fire extinguisher in your house and know how to use it. A good alternative is to have a garden hose in close proximity for in case a fire occurs.
  6. Educate your children about fires – Fire spreads very quickly and can cause destruction within minutes. It is very important that children are not left alone with open fires, but they should be educated on what to do should a fire occur when they are alone.

Mustadafin Foundation is actively involved in destitute communities. If you would like to give your time or donate please contact them on 021 633 0010 or visit their website at