Tag Archives: geocentric

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

Cape Town fires 2021. Source: Associated Press.

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

Top 10 Tips To Keep Your Store Safe This Festive Season

While many of us see the festive season as a time to kick back and relax, for the retail sector it is the busiest time of the year. With high volumes of high-value stock, seasonal staff and more capital flowing through our premises than any other time of the year staying safe is a definite priority. 

Maintaining visibility throughout your store, being alert to suspicious activity and taking precautions during the opening and closing of your facility are excellent places to start. However, there is more you can do to keep yourself, your business and your employees safe this festive season. 

10 Things To Keep Your Store Safe:

  1. Suspicious vehicles  – Be vigilant of what is around your business, especially at opening and closing times.
  2. Suspicious persons – People who intend to shoplift often wear inappropriate clothing for the weather – such as heavy coats during hot days.
  3. Be prepared for a crisis – Having a list of emergency numbers clearly visible means your employees know who to call in an emergent situation.
  4. Be prepared for crime – Placing static panic buttons in strategic areas of your store, like in the cash office, storeroom, or under the till register can help employees call for help in armed robbery scenarios.
  5. Shine a light – Keep the premises well-lit, both inside and out, especially at night so that patrols and security can clearly see potential intruders. 
  6. Travel together – Two or more staff members should leave the premises together at the end of shifts.
  7. Stay visible – Use a clearly public entrance to the business and avoid any secluded entry points not covered by surveillance cameras.
  8. Clean your cameras – Make sure all individuals can be clearly identified by the cameras as the video footage assists the SAPS with investigations.
  9. Test your cameras – Inspect your CCTV cameras regularly, ensuring they are fully functioning without any blind spots.
  10. Deposit cash ASAP – Do not keep a large amount of cash inside the store and change your pattern of banking to avoid being tracked and targeted. 

Sustainable security is a balance between a safety-conscious employee culture, a properly equipped property and employers who prioritise creating a safe working experience. Letting your customers and staff know that you care about their safety this busy season will make your customers feel safe and your staff feel valued – both of which boost your confidence and your bottom line. 

If you have any safety concerns to share, 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 

Geocentric Launches New App

“As Geocentric we are very proud to launch our new mobile phone reporting application,” said Gene Lohrentz of the urban management company recently. “This is another way in which we are enabling our CID business and property owners to interact with their City Improvement District Management. 

“We want our CID contributors to become part of our family by interacting with us about issues they might encounter.  The mobile application makes that possible on the devices most people have with them every day.” 

Geocentric Reporting App 2

The Geocentric app allows users to easily report issues in the City Improvement Districts managed by Geocentric Urban Management based in South Africa.  Currently the areas covered by this Application include Beaconvale Industrial Area, Elsies River Industrial, Glosderry, Maitland, Salt River, Somerset West CBD, Stikland Industrial, Strand CBD and the Tygervalley CBD.  

With this application users can report urban defects, crime incidents, public safety issues and general comments.  “We will acknowledge your report and provide you with feedback throughout the process.  We will also send you ‘Alerts’ of problems in your CID area, such as water leaks or power outages and we can even send crime alerts and safety tips to your mobile phone. 

The Geocentric Reporting Application is Free of Charge 

Simply install it and register as a user when using it for the first time.  If you need any help, please contact support@geocentric.co.za 

Geocentric Reporting App 1

Let’s get started! 

  • Simply download and install the App from the Google Play or Apple App Store  
  • Register as a user, using the app when you open it for the first time 
  • We will send you a confirmation email and you will have to activate your app by clicking on the activation link in the email – this is to ensure we are dealing with people and not spammers. 
  • Go to your email and verify your email address 
  • Log in and you are ready to go! 

 

Urban Management Trolley Introduced

The Geocentric Urban Management Trolley Project was initiated in 2017. 

The aim of the project is to provide urban cleaning and maintenance teams with a platform to improve their daily tasks, assist with moving of equipment and tools and enable recycling while performing their tasks. 

A few design considerations were introduced into the design of the trolley including 

  • The ability to move heavy loads of litter or recycling from one point to another without effort or potential injury 
  • Create high visibility for the cleaning and maintenance teams 
  • Have quick and easy access to tools and equipment 
  • The ability, even when fully loaded, to easy ascend and descend kerbs and sidewalks 
  • Be able to separate waste as they work to support the recycling initiative 

To achieve some of these design principles, Geocentric looked at simple solutions from other designs, for example, the stair-climbing suitcases used by so many travellers.  By scaling up the design for the urban management trolleys, we could produce a sidewalk and pavement climbing trolley where the urban management worker needs minimum effort to get onto and off pavements to perform their duties.  

(See photos of step 1, 2 and 3 illustrating this concept.) 

step1

step2

step3

The trolleys were also designed to be pushed from any side with key tools located in the middle so that it is in fact easy to use it for a two-man team operation.  On each side of the trolley a plastic tool box allows storage for small tools. 

Recyclables like tin cans, glass and plastic bottles are collected by the urban management workers throughout the day as they clean the streets and public spaces and at the end of each day they separate the items into baskets whereafter Geocentric recycles the items. 

trolley 4 trolley 5

This is another way in which we make CID operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly as we prevent a vast amount of waste from simply going to landfills. 

trolley 6

Geocentric have rolled out these trollies in the Elsies River and Beaconvale City Improvement Districts and plan to roll them out to all the other CIDs under Geocentric management through the course of 2018. 

Beaconvale gaining ground

Thanks to the commitment of all who are involved in the Beaconvale Improvement District drive, strides of progress are being made in various ways. 

The accompanying images tell the story of how problems like illegal dumping and the confiscation of stolen trolleys and wheelie-bins are successfully addressed by the teams. 

The Public Safety issues that are addressed during the day-to-day activities, include problems related to the following:  

  • Illegal Dumping 
  • Engaging with the public (public safety officers engage with all people in the public space to ensure that everyone is aware of the BVID’s presence and activities. This is done in conjunction with and in support of the law enforcement officer seconded to the Stikland CID, who oversees such activities. If something suspicious is found, the Law Enforcement Officer and/or SAPS act accordingly. 
  • Bin scratching  
  • CCTV visuals followed up if necessary  
  • Trolley and wheelie-bin confiscation 

 trolley abuse1 trolley abuse2

The Cleaning issues include: 

  • Litter picking 
  • De-weeding 
  • Sweeping streets 

cleaning1 cleaning2 cleaning3 cleaning4

On the Urban management side, the BVID Management continues to log all urban and infrastructure defects as C3* notifications with the City of Cape Town for correction. (*This is a system introduced by the City of Cape Town by which the public can report urban defects / problems / law enforcement issues – to them via various platforms, such as sms (31373 – all issues except electrical and 31220 for electrical issues), call centre (086 103 089) and e-mail. (https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/ServiceRequests/Pages/default.aspx) 

collaborating with CCT(2) collaborating with CCT(1)