Keeping you safe from fire

Above: Gail Bennett, 20, and her son, 15-month-old Daylin, died in the fire.

The following tips will help keep you and your family safe from fire, as published on the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services website: Using electricity safely

Do not overload your electrical circuits – in other words, don’t keep more than four plugs on one extension (with your heater, your kettle, your stove)

Service your electrical components regularly and replace faulty ones.

Switch off all electrical appliances at the wall at night or when leaving your home.

When you are cooking (on any sort of stove, gas, electric or paraffin), do not leave the pot on the stove unless you are watching it.

Electrical connections must be professionally installed and properly earthed with the correct circuit breakers installed.

Using paraffin safely

Always handle paraffin with extreme care, as it is poisonous and can burn your skin even if unlit. Paraffin is often sold in containers contaminated with chemicals such as petrol, or mixed with methylated spirits. This can cause it to flare dangerously or even explode.

Paraffin can cause severe burns, and paraffin stoves that are knocked over or explode are a major cause of injuries and fires in informal settlements. Paraffin also emits harmful fumes when ignited.

Never leave a paraffin appliance unattended. It only takes a second for a gust of wind, pet or child to knock over a light or stove.

Make sure paraffin appliances are on a flat, firm surface.

Do not put a cloth under a paraffin appliance. A child or pet could pull the trailing end and the cloth will then burn, fuelling the fire.

Always have a bucket of sand nearby when using a paraffin appliance. Water will not extinguish a paraffin fire and can make matters worse by spreading the flames. Paraffin fires can only be extinguished using sand or a fire extinguisher.