Tag Archives: Beaconvale Improvement District

Q1 REVIEW, WINTER PREPARATION & WHEELIE BIN SAFETY

As we move into the cooler months, we’re looking back and highlighting the efforts made during Q1 to keep the Beaconvale City Improvement District a safe and clean place to live, work and visit. At this time, we also start preparing for winter with all the necessary maintenance to public space, and we ask you to take care of your property and business by doing the same. Lastly, we offer our safety tips for your wheelie bin, which can become a security hazard, especially as our daylight hours decrease.

Looking back at Q1

For Quarter One 2024, we focused on maintaining a safe environment through our security initiatives, which include ensuring bin-pickers and loiterers are monitored and dealt with.  Additionally, the Beaconvale City Improvement District’s cleanliness was a priority, with our cleaning services ensuring a well-maintained space through initiatives such as emptying public bins on time and cleaning public gutters when needed. You can learn more about what we accomplished this quarter below.

On the ground report from our CID manager

Our CID manager shares a positive incident dealth with by the CID this quarter below.

“We noticed on camera a commotion in front of Liquor King 22 Connaught Road. Zero dispatched both response vehicles to check. We noticed a man with a knife in his hand fighting with a lady, who was already bleeding from his stomach. Response informed us that both the man and woman were drunk and fighting over money. Zero informed the police and obtained a reference number. The man refused medical attention for the wound. Police took too long to respond. Our officers managed to get the knife out of the man’s hand and calm him down. We also managed to calm the situation down and they decided to leave.”

wheelie bin safety + how to replace your wheelie bin

Wheelie Bin Safety

Learn how to keep your wheelie bin and property safe, or replace a lost bin, with these helpful tips.

Keeping your wheelie bin secure benefits both you and the community. Clearly marking your bin with your house number or address increases the chances of its safe return if it gets misplaced. But security goes beyond just the bin itself. To ensure your overall safety, be mindful of what you throw away. Avoid discarding medication bottles with your name or address visible. Shred any personal documents before disposal to prevent identity theft.

Bin placement also plays a role in security. Leaving your wheelie bin too close to walls or fences creates a potential climbing aid for trespassers. Ideally, store your bin in a designated area, like a garage or shed, whenever possible. If not, position it in a well-lit, open area away from fences and walls. By following these simple tips, you can keep your wheelie bin secure and reduce potential security risks around your property.

Winter Readiness

The crisp air and cosy vibes of winter are fast approaching, but so are the challenges of rain, wind and potential disruptions. Don’t get caught off guard! We’ve got you covered with essential tips to navigate the season seamlessly. 

From keeping your property prepared and business functioning smoothly, to staying safe on the roads, these handy suggestions will help you embrace the winter flow. 

Welcoming 2024 – Let’s Create a Better Beaconvale Together

Working together with residents, local businesses and urban management specialists to create a rich urban environment where the Beaconvale community can thrive, we – the Beaconvale Improvement District – welcome 2024 with the new challenges and opportunities it will provide. Together with the City of Cape Town, our partners, outreach initiatives and you, we will continue to strive towards reinvigorating our urban environment.

Aligned in our collective mission, we are committed to cultivating a thriving urban ecosystem that is safe, accessible and inviting to all the workers, visitors and community members of our district. We are unwavering in our commitment to the property and business owners of our area and intend to consolidate and elevate our services based on the successes of last year.

Please feel free to contact us at any time with queries or concerns and be reminded of our 24-hour security control room number for public safety incidents.

For Public Safety Emergencies Contact

24-hour Geocentric Control Room: 021 565 0900

Let’s embark on this journey together, embracing the challenges and opportunities that 2024 presents, as we collectively shape the future of our Beaconvale community. Together we can create a stable, safe, clean area that is prosperous for our community both economically and socially.

Safety & Fire During the Hot, Dry and Windy Cape Town Summer Months

Cape Town fire season occurs from November through May. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.

Cape Town is notoriously prone to wildfires that occur in natural vegetation when it is hot and dry in the summer months, which coincide with the windy season – creating ideal conditions for wildfires to occur and quickly get out of control. This season has already been earmarked to be the worst fire season in 8 years.

Cape Town fires are particularly common in the Table Mountain National Park due to the natural conditions in our fynbos ecosystem. But, homes and businesses are not exempt from danger, as any fire can spread quickly and far – up to tens of kilometres from the source. It is most important to keep your home, family and business safe, protecting life and property, as our urban living spaces share a boundary with the national parks in many parts of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

By 18 January 2024, there had been a total of 22 new fire incidents, with SANParks firefighting teams demonstrating swift response and effective containment. This influx has occurred particularly in the southern section of Table Mountain National Park, in Kalk Bay, Oceanview and Red Hill areas, as well as in the north of the park, in the Signal Hill and Pipe Track areas, posing significant risk to the communities living adjacent to the park, particularly with hot temperatures and strong wind conditions being experienced.

Fire Safety Precautions & Interventions

In Cape Town, there are various organisations in place to manage fire safety and interventions that should be taken, both to avoid fire and to control it when it happens. 

Home and work checklist for fire safety

  • Always have a “grab bag” with your important documents in it such as birth certificates and passports.
  • Make sure that all your insurance documents and other important documentation are backed up securely to the cloud.
  • Assign tasks to family members or staff such as placing pets or kids in the car and driving them to safety at a friend’s house out of smoke danger.
  • Run fire drills so that everyone is prepared in an emergency.
  • If you need to stay and help fight fires, cover your head, nose and mouth and protect your eyes with goggles. Wear good shoes and gloves.
  • Wetting the roof and gutters can stop hot ash from burning the roof.
  • Keep grass cut as short grass helps slow down fire.
  • Keep a hose pipe rolled up and ready to put out fires.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in kitchens and train staff or family members how to use it.
  • If you volunteer on the mountain in a wildfire, take a spade  –  this helps to beat out fire or throw sand on smouldering grass tufts.
  • Always remember, your safety is first and if you are not properly trained, call for assistance. 

Each year, the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service contracts the use of two Huey helicopters and a Cessna 182 spotter plane to support its firefighting efforts. These aircraft allow for mountain wildfires to be combated in inaccessible areas that pose a serious risk to property and life.

For the first time since using the aerial appliances, they are now branded this season, clearly identifiable as City resources.

Emergency & Contact information

Fire and Rescue Service Department

24-hour emergencies:

Telephone: 107 (landline) or 021 480 7700 (cellphone)

General fire safety enquiries:

Telephone: 021 590 1971 / 021 590 1975

To report a fire in the Table Mountain National Park

Please call:

  • Hotline: 086 110 6417 or
  • The City’s Regional Fire Control No: (021) 590 1900
  • Newlands Fire Base: Tel: +27(0) 21 689 7438

Fire Prevention Tips

There are simple preventatives we can all pay heed to – such as not lighting a fire or braai on a hot and windy day, and never extinguishing a cigarette out of doors, such as out of a car window, in grass or when hiking.

For property owners, ember-proofing any area requires the removal of all flammable plants up to 7m from a building, as well as overhanging branches. Checking and cleaning gutters and roofing for debris is important too. 

Other interventions that you can implement on a larger scale include considering your construction materials if you are remodelling and supplementing them for fire-resistant alternatives. You should also ensure full continued compliance with all local and national fire safety codes and think about installing fire protection systems such as overhead sprinklers. 

Unfortunately, despite all the precautions, a fire can happen to any size business at any time. That is why protecting your employees and your property should be a top priority. Following the above steps will help you avoid any fires breaking out and minimise fire-related damages. While there may be no such thing as truly “fireproof,” these guidelines are an excellent starting point for safeguarding your business. 

Resources

Western Cape Government

City of Cape Town

Sanparks

Facebook

Beaconvale Improvement District 2023 Roundup

It’s been another year of successes and tackling challenges head-on for the Beaconvale Improvement District. As part of our renewed commitment to public safety and urban cleaning and management, we persist in leading the way toward the continuous improvement of Beaconvale as a thriving business hub.

Our CID team has increased their presence on the ground, resulting in improved statistics across the board for 2023. We’ve driven more kilometres in our patrol vehicles, engaged with more members of the public and attended to more service requests and urban defects than ever before. We’ll continue with this increased presence in the community in 2024 and the years beyond.

This year, with 51 CIDs now in operation in the City of Cape Town, the new CID by-law and policy has come into effect. Geocentric, who has now been working with city improvement district initiatives for more than 2 decades, is proud to be responsible for over 25% of the total CIDs in operation. 

In addition to taking care of the public’s safety and urban cleaning, our CID placed a focus on greening areas across Beaconvale in 2023. These urban beautification projects will be continued throughout 2024, in line with the goal of continuously upgrading our community. 

2023 Beaconvale Improvement District Stats

“Despite the challenges of a struggling economy, ongoing load shedding and higher fuel prices, the aim of the BVID remained focussed on delivering top-up services to the public spaces of Beaconvale throughout the year,” says Gene Lohrentz of Geocentric Urban Management, tasked with the delivery of our City Improvement District services.

The BVID Board and Geocentric management team is committed to finding innovative, efficient and cost-effective ways to continue delivering on the vision for a safer, cleaner, well-maintained and vibrant community.  We look forward to more opportunities to make a tangible difference in 2024.

Meet Our New Manager!

Meet our Beaconvale Improvement District manager! Anton Nell is committed to making Beaconvale better for our community, working tirelessly in his key role at the BVID.⁠

Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

As the festive season approaches, it is essential to prioritise safety at this time, as crime, accidents and fire hazards are usually on the rise during the holiday period.

Being mindful of potential risks and hazards can help safeguard you, your business and your property – from road safety considerations to vigilance against petty crimes in crowded business premises to more serious crimes such as hijacking and robbery. 

Along with keeping your personal safety in mind, if you are a business owner, it is imperative to be vigilant and proactive in implementing strategies that protect your assets, property and staff during the busiest time of year. 


Prevention is better than cure. That’s why we urge property and business owners to make every effort to prepare their properties, businesses, staff and themselves against opportunists and criminals with our safety tips below:

Emergency Numbers

Quick access to relevant emergency numbers can be the difference between life and death. We have compiled a comprehensive list for you to save and share for easy access to these numbers.

Once again, our 24-hour security control room is always available for your public safety emergencies.

Whatsapp group info 

If you’re interested in staying informed about our initiatives, as well as the newest developments in your improvement district, you can become a member of our BVID business WhatsApp group by:

• Sending a WhatsApp message to 081 869 8911.

• You will need to include your Name and Surname or the name of your business

• You will need to include your street address, which should be within the boundary of the CID

• We will add you to the relevant CID Community Group

Rules and regulations for communicating will be stipulated in the group.

AGM Save the Date & Spring greening Beaconvale

This October, we hold our Annual General Meeting (AGM 2023) to review the year’s activities and begin our planning for 2024/25. We hope all our members can attend. Non-members still have time to register. The new City of Cape Town CID by-law and policy came into effect on 1 July and that is available to view online.

Our CID has undertaken several urban beautification projects this Spring, adding greenery and cleaning up public areas of Beaconvale, as well as upgrading our security camera network. 

Lastly, the recent bout of storms and cold fronts experienced in the Cape have certainly added to the work of the CIDs, in particular in the way of road maintenance and fallen trees. We’d like to remind you at this time to assist us in providing effective service by logging a service request for any faults encountered.

Read more below.

AGM Save the Date_BEACONVALE

Our AGM is coming up

All stakeholders are invited to a review of the year’s activities and planning for 2024/25.

Resolutions presented at the AGM can only be voted for by bonafide members. All non-members wishing to take part must be registered before 12 October.

View all AGM documents here.

AGM Details

Monday, 23 October 2023, 10:00
Fi Group, Unit A1, Connaught Park, McGregor Street, Beaconvale
RSVP to info@beaconvalecid.co.za


New CID By-law Policy

The new CID by-law policy came into effect from 1 July, which serves “To provide for the establishment of City Improvement Districts; to provide for additional rates; and to provide for matters incidental thereto.”

The City of Cape Town’s by-law and policy regarding the establishment and management of City Improvement Districts has gone through several iterations over the years since the concept of a CID was first tested in the year 2000.

The latest revisions of the by-law and policy comes as more than 50 CIDs are now in operation.

The by-law is available to download online here at openbylaws.org.za.

Spring greening Beaconvale – A New Pop-Up Park

The Beaconvale CID continues to beautify the area in an effort to create an attractive and inviting urban environment for the entire community and those visiting the area.

In the last year we created a pop-up park with welcome sign and a potted garden, as you approach one of the main entrances to Beaconvale, on the corner of Jan Smuts and Beaconvale at the Metro Police facility.

The good news is that we will continue with these projects through the area in an effort to make Beaconvale even more inviting and attractive.

New security cameras for Beaconvale

We have continuously expanded the camera network of the Beaconvale Improvement District as the funding becomes available. However, one of the areas where we have experienced new impact from criminal activity recently was with the Beaconvale boundary with Van Riebeeck Road on the western boundary of the improvement district. This criminal activity was mostly against the properties that border onto Van Riebeeck Road. In order to address this issue, we have deployed several new cameras on that perimeter.

These static CCTV cameras are equipped with artificial intelligence for human detection. Whenever these cameras detect human movement during late-night and early-morning hours, an alert is triggered. This alert is then shared with our public safety provider’s control room and their patrol vehicles, which actively participate in patrolling the area as part of their routine neighborhood patrols. Whoever is on patrol that night, receives the alert first and is able to investigate the movement and ascertain if there is any criminal activity involved.

Logging a service request with the City

You too can assist with urban management and the growing number of faults and service requests that the City and our CID deal with on a daily basis. By reporting water and electricity faults and other maintenance requirements such as potholes, missing road signs or blocked stormwater drains, through the correct channels, we and the City are able to attend to these service requests and log their status in an effective way.

There are multiple channels through which you can do this – the easiest being the online portal at capetown.gov.za/servicerequests, which is also now available in the City of Cape Town mobile app.

View all the steps to log a service request on the flyers below.

Meet the Beaconvale CID manager + 1st quarter 2023 updates

2023 is well underway and as we embark on a year set to take our Beaconvale City Improvement District to new heights, we introduce you to our manager and share some important reminders from BCID and the City.

As always, our focus remains on developing a safe, accessible and welcoming urban ecosystem for all workers, visitors and community members in our district. We are firmly committed to supporting the property and business owners in our locality, and our aim is to build upon last year’s successes by strengthening and enhancing our services.

Meet our Beaconvale City Improvement District manager!

Continue reading Meet the Beaconvale CID manager + 1st quarter 2023 updates

Illegal Dumping: What It Is and How to Stop It

Did you know? That annually over 180 000 tons of waste are cleared from illegal dumping hot spots! That costs the city, and you as the taxpayer, a staggering R350 million a year just in clean-up. In other words, cleaning illegal dumping costs 20 times more than collecting waste from wheelie bins. That is why to create a clean, healthy and safe community we take our work tackling illegal dumping very seriously. 

“Illegal dumping is a severe problem that puts our community at risk of injury and illness and pollutes our ecosystem. In addition, illegal dumpsites can serve as magnets for other criminal activities,” says Gene Lohrentz, CEO of the urban management company, Geocentric

Here is what we have learnt when it comes to illegal dumping. 

What is illegal dumping?

Illegal dumping is the disposal of unwanted materials in inappropriate places. Be it household rubbish, building waste or industrial debris, improper disposal has disastrous effects on the environment, economy and community.

Our teams are dedicated to cleaning our community and have cleaned thousands of cases of illegal dumping in the last year!

Protecting Property Values

Our daily work with the City of Cape Town’s (COCT) Solid Waste By-law Enforcement Unit protects our district from plummeting property values. By cleaning, we keep our community member’s properties safe by preventing pest issues, blocked storm drains and plastic pollution.  

Clean streets don’t just look great, they also improve the value of properties. The study ‘Value of cleaner neighbourhoods’ found that residents will pay up to 57% more to live in a clean neighbourhood. By being part of the solution business owners can help protect and even increase the market value of their property and make their establishments more inviting for customers. 

Protecting Public Health 

Vermin are attracted to dump sites making these sites sources of disease and infection. Anyone near a dump site risks getting sick both from the hazardous materials dumped and from the diseases spread by rats. These diseases aren’t only formidable – they’re often fatal. Rat urine is responsible for diseases like Leptospirosis ( causing kidney and liver damage) and Hantavirus, a debilitating viral bronchial disease. Rats also gnaw at cables, transformers and electrics causing expensive damage to businesses.

By cleaning up this waste before it attracts vermin, we put a stop to these health hazards before they happen. 

Preventing Floods 

Water sustains life, but it can also cause widespread destruction, as we saw during the recent flooding in KwaZulu-Natal. As our most precious and essential resource we must treasure it – for if we don’t, we will suffer. 

Illegal dumping is a terrifying threat to the water management of our district. When it rains, excess litter is swept into drains and sewers, blocking them and causing trash flash floods. Flooding, and the infrastructure damage it causes, puts immense pressure on emergency services when they are needed most.

To make sure our city can handle the rain we collect all dumping regularly and clean the stormwater drains as part of our winter preparedness programme. 

Pulverizing Plastic Pollution

A large percentage of waste illegally dumped is plastic. We are well aware that its consequences are far-reaching, but we are tackling this challenge too. When possible, we sort the waste and recycle what we can instead of sending it all to a landfill. By sorting recyclables, we help reduce the waste in our waterways and create employment opportunities. 

We understand it’s almost impossible to recycle all waste. However, we also know that big things have small beginnings. We all make small changes to bring about positive collective transformation.  Where possible, we must all take the opportunity to recycle.

How You Can Help Combat Illegal Dumping?

The COCT provides the tools necessary to crack down on illegal dumping and needs citizens to get involved. By reporting dumping you help the City make improvements and encourage others to do the same. Plus, it’s an easy way to beautify your neighbourhood and help keep it safe.

Although the issue is vast, if we all play our part together, we can create a greener, cleaner future for ourselves and future generations.

If you spot something, say something!

To report illegal dumping in your community:

  • Call 0860 103 089 or email solidwaste.bylaw@capetown.gov.za. 
  • If you have the culprit’s vehicle registration number and/or can identify him/her you can shortcut the process and call 021 400 6157

Contact details: 

If you have any safety concerns to report, please contact one of the following numbers:

·       10111 – SAPS (South African Police Services)

·        107 – City of Cape Town Disaster Management

·        021 565 0900 – Geocentric Control Room 

Blown Away – How we are preparing to weather the Cape of Storms. 

The saying goes that ‘Great floods flow from simple sources’ and as we prepare for the harshness of the howling gales and pelting rain that make up Cape Town storms, we couldn’t agree more. Many of us are more conscious of the pivotal role that winter preparation plays in city management and what the lack of it can look like as demonstrated in the aftermath of the 2022 KZN floods

“A combination of terrain challenges, insufficient or ill-maintained infrastructure and increased population density are the main contributors to flooding problems,” says Gene Lohrentz, CEO of urban management company Geocentric. 

Here is how we are making sure we are ready to weather the storm: 

Creating a clean eco and economically friendly environment: 

Did you know that according to the Waste 2020 Market Intelligence Report, the Western Cape created between 138 278 and 162 138 tonnes of plastic waste in 2019? This much plastic equates to an estimated market value of between R473.8 and R631.7 million that is simply not being tapped into because of the manpower and infrastructure required to sort it at scale. 

We help turn our trash into cash and create additional value out of waste products by bridging the gap between the litter on the street and the recycling plant. Cleaning and sorting as we go into our appropriate wheelie bins to be recycled directly from the drains and gutters of our streets.  

But it is not only our drains. We also sort the content of the public litter bins.  We service these bins daily and the plastic bottles, cups and cans are now removed and recycled where possible, instead of sending everything to a landfill.

New Weather Stations: 

2022 marks the final rollout of our weather stations. These are vital in monitoring rainfall intensity, giving us information on potential flood areas so that we can preempt pumping them. In our busy districts, the weather also impacts how much accident monitoring we do and helps us ensure we have enough staff to keep infrastructure damage to a minimum and avoid road blockages and closures.   

Taking an upstream approach to ocean conservation 

As part of our winter preparedness programme, we haul out all sorts of items from our waterways. This allows heavy rains to safely run along the contours of the land, into the rivers and eventually the sea.

We consistently intervene to keep our drainage system healthy and prevent waste from entering our stormwater runoff systems by methodically cleaning our drain catch pits and drain inlets.  Just before winter, we ramp this service up as part of our winter preparedness programme. 

Importantly this cleaning means heavy rain runs away from buildings and infrastructure. Preventing damage as much of the cost of flooding is due to the impact that items carried by the water have.

So what happens to all the litter we remove? 

You guessed it, most of the litter removed is plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans which are separated and earmarked for recycling. 

Trimming the Trees 

Every month we carefully trim the trees in our area and report major tree issues to the Recreation and Parks Department and relevant property owners. By professionally caring for our trees before our wind direction changes we prevent any dead, diseased or damaged branches from falling onto people, cars,  electric fences, vehicles, and properties. It also serves to help clear any branches that may be blocking lights, alarm beams and security cameras to make sure criminal activity is kept to a minimum. 

Here is what you can do to help us and yourself this winter 

  • Clear the clutter from your gutter so the water can run off to a stormwater drain safely. 
  • If you do not have additional water tanks ensure your water is draining to stormwater and not sewage drains. To direct rainwater into the sewage system is illegal and can land you with a heavy fine. 
  • The maintenance of security cameras is just as important as installing them. Dust carried by our winds builds up on the lenses turning into the mud with the first rain and making any evidence not admissible in court so it is best to clean them before the rains start.

While no individual raindrop ever considers itself responsible for the flood we all have a responsibility to pull our weight. Our work forms an essential preventative measure that results in environmentally responsible and sustainable prevention of weather-related challenges such as traffic congestion, property damage, and power outages. 

If you notice any weather-related issues please communicate to our Community WhatsApp Group below. 

If you have any concerns to report, please contact one of the following numbers:

10111 – SAPS (South African Police Services)

107 – City of Cape Town Disaster Management

021 565 0900 – Geocentric Control Room

0800 872 201 – Give Dignity Initiative 

Helping The Homeless To Build A Sustainable Future

Mahatma Gandhi said that the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. Unfortunately, as South Africans, we are desensitised in part to the poverty that permeates our ordinary lives. Used to the sight of the radical impact our ever-expanding gap between the haves and have nots creates. While many of us want to help, most are uneducated on the extraordinarily complex issues that create and sustain homelessness. 

Due to our own basic understanding of these ever-evolving issues, it makes a greater difference when we partner with and give back to organisations equipped with the infrastructure, skill and experience to combat homelessness and help in a sustainable way.

“Handouts of cash given to desperate – often mentally ill people – add fuel to the same addictions that put them on the streets. Institutions such as our partners at MES have spent decades building, perfecting and maintaining the social infrastructure to efficiently maximise the impact of our donations and the results are inarguable,” says Jaco Wessels, COO of our appointed urban management company Geocentric.  

Here are our top recommendations of non-profit organisations active in 2022 and how to  contribute to their vision responsibly:

MES

MES Cape Town is a pivotal partner in efforts to sustainably rehome the homeless in many City Improvement Districts. Their extensive network of strong outreach and social relief programmes allows them to provide the reach and resources that our CID requires. They also have a reactive help desk to assist us whenever necessary to meets the immediate and short-term needs of the homeless and unemployed community. 

We work with MES extensively to source the individuals that we require as casual labour for project-specific work.  The experts at MES also scout out individuals who show promise and then place them with us every week. For those who show dedication, we offer the opportunity to be absorbed on a probationary basis as one of our workers a.k.a our Green Ants. We then provide opportunities for all our Green Ants to become supervisors, further their training and grow into an integral part of our workforce. 

To ensure that the funds they generate with us are put to good use,  we pay their stipend directly to MES. Who use it to cover the cost of their living expenses sustainably until the end of their stay. 

To get in touch, call them on +27 21 949 8736 or send an email to info@mes.org.za.

Visit their website to donate here.

Here are some tips on how you can help responsibly:

  • Donate directly to a registered and legitimate NGO in your area. Your donations do not have to be monetary either so be on the lookout for clothing items, towels, tents, blankets, pillows, bags or non-perishable groceries for institutions such as FoodForward SA.
  • Support charities and campaigns by advocating to prevent homelessness on social media. By following and sharing posts of organisations such as Women’s Shelter Movement, Ons Plek and Youth Solutions Africa you help grow their followings and advocate their cause.
  • Volunteer your time or professional skills. Everyone from the accountants among us to the karate teachers has a unique offering that can improve the lives of those less fortunate – so ask your local charities how you may dedicate your skill to improving their offering.  

Since the ratio of people in need of help, and the help available, is so unbalanced many NGOs and NPOs are left with tight funds to run the businesses themselves. By donating your, time, skill, possessions or money in a responsible way you not only help make our district a safer space but provide our homeless residents with the chance to rekindle a sense of pride, community, and dignity. 

Trial By Fire – Fire Safety In Cape Town’s Summer

Cape Town’s fire season occurs from November through to May which are our hottest, and driest months. Together with our beloved south-easterly “Cape Doctor” – which adores clearing our city of pollution – these arid conditions create ideal opportunities for wildfires to spark and quickly rage out of control. 

From our homes and businesses to our beloved Table Mountain National Park, there are various organisations in place to manage fire safety and intervene both to avoid fires and to control them when they happen. 

It’s true that fires are a part of the South African landscape and occur naturally in grasslands, woodlands, fynbos, and sometimes in indigenous forests. However, there has been a disastrous loss of natural diversity in our fynbos ecosystem and an invasion of Australian wattles, Eucalypts and Mediterranean pines. Now, our fires burn hotter for longer and each fire destroys more than the last. Meaning it’s more important now than ever to actively keep your home, family and business safe and to protect the life and value they hold. 

Home and Work Checklist for Fire Safety

  • Ember-proofing any area, requires the removal of all flammable plants up to 7m from a building, as well as overhanging branches. Checking and cleaning gutters and roofing for debris is important too. 
  • Always remember, your safety is first and if you are not properly trained, call for assistance. 
  • Make sure that all your insurance documents and other important documentation are backed up securely to the cloud.
  • Assign tasks to staff and run fire drills so that everyone is prepared in an emergency.
  • If you need to stay and help fight fires, cover your head, nose and mouth and protect your eyes with goggles. Wear good shoes and gloves.
  • If you have access to water, wet the roof and gutters to stop hot ash from burning the roof.
  • Keep grass cut as short as possible as it helps slow the fire.
  • Keep a hose pipe rolled up and ready.
  • Keep fire extinguishers around that are regularly maintained and train your staff on how to use them safely and correctly.

Other interventions that you can implement on a larger scale include considering your construction materials if you are remodelling and supplementing them for fire-resistant alternatives. You should also ensure full continued compliance with all local and national fire safety codes and think about installing fire protection systems such as overhead sprinklers. 

Unfortunately, despite all the precautions, a fire can happen to any size business at any time. That is why protecting your employees and your property should be a top priority. Following the above steps will help you avoid any fires breaking out and minimise fire-related damages. While there may be no such thing as truly “fireproof,” these guidelines are an excellent starting point for safeguarding your business. 

Additional Resources

Preventing fires in the Western Cape

City of Cape Town  –  Basic Household Fire Safety

Fire is Everyone’s Fight Toolkit of guidelines and posters with lesson plans

Sanparks  –  Fire management / Table Mountain National Park Fire Management Plan

Contact information for  the Fire and Rescue Service Department

24-hour emergencies: 107 (landline) or 021 480 7700 (cellphone)

General fire safety enquiries: 021 590 1971 / 021 590 1975

To report a fire : Hotline: 086 110 6417 or The City’s Regional Fire Control No: (021) 590 1900