To standardize fire prevention and fire fighting in our region we need to formalize an operating procedure that every member will conform to.
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
If a fire or smoke is located in the Western Region of the SCFPA (Kannaland, Hessequa&Mossel Bay Municipality)
Please phone our Riversdale office at 028 713 1987 or Charl Wade (Western Regional Manager) at 079 485 5320 or Philip Wilken (Western Region Extension Officer) at 079 697 8706.
IF a fire or smoke is located in the Eastern Region of the SCFPA (Oudtshoorn, George, Knysna, Bitou, Kou-Kamma, Kouga & Baviaanskloof Municipality)
Please our Knysna office at 044 302 6911 or Dirk Smit (Eastern Regional Manager) at 072 785 2742 or Danie Gräbe (Eastern Region Extension Officer) at 082 936 7780
The best way of fighting fires is to prevent them. Should this fail we need to extinguish any fire when and where it originates.
When both of the ideal situations fail, we need to know who can and who will do what, where, when and how. With this in mind we have divided our SOP into three stages:
STAGE ONE (Fire prevention)
- THINK FIRE PREVENTION AT ALL TIMES.
- Maintain firebreaks. ( Communal firebreaks must be a communal task)
- Maintain firefighting equipment and ensure that everyone knows how to use them.
- Train Management and labour in fighting fires.
- NO FIRES ON RED DAYS. SABC 1,2,3 & E indicate fire indexes on their weather forecasts. Eden DM Disaster Management sends out sms’s with warnings for high risk days. Visit www.scfpa.co.za to obtain the FDI.
- No burning of rubbish dumps, dead animals or vegetation without prior permission of Control centre.
- No burning of the above without notifying immediate neighbours, even if you have received permission. Firstly notify Co-ordinator, then neighbours.
- Warn employees in writing of starting fires and train them when it comes to dumping used fire residue, extinguishing fires correctly made to heat meals and coffee on site.
- Don’t start a braai with paper, use firelighters, and if you must light a braai with paper, put your meat grid over as a spark dissipater.
STAGE TWO ( Immediate fire extinguishing.)
- IF THERE’S SMOKE AND YOU HAVE NOT BEEN INFORMED, THERE IS A THREAT, AND IT MUST BE EXTINGUISHED IMMEDIATELY.
- If you smell smoke, see smoke or even suspect a fire, CALL your coordinator immediately.
- If you see a fire start by an act of God (lightning) or any other, and have not been informed, KILL IT. Before you leave call your coordinator and tell him where it is and your next actions.
- Coordinator if you receive such a call, telephone your local Fire Brigade, inform them so that they can place their people on standby or despatch them.
- As part of our sectors SOP arrange between yourselves that no locked gate or prevention of access will stop anyone from extinguishing a fire at its source.
- Never accept that in the case of a lightning strike the rainfall thereafter has killed the fire. Once the lightning has FINISHED, investigate and ensure that the fire is DEAD. (“tip” take “fire beaters”, knap-sack, and 20 liters of water with you when you check. To return to collect these could mean that you are too late. (No equipment can ever be too much, it can however be too little, and therefore TOO LATE).
- Ensure that your employees will and can inform you of a possible fire immediately. Use reward systems with discretion as blanket rewards can exacerbate fire ignitions.
- Have first aid kit ready.
We all hate fighting long drawn out fires. Impress upon all that 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon, can save days of danger and nights of sleeplessness.
STAGE 3: FULL BLOWN FIRE
It is imperative that stage 1 and 2 are always the ideal. Should it not be, the following IMMEDIATELY kicks in.
- If the fire is too big, do not hesitate. Inform your coordinator immediately. Then inform your local Fire Brigade. (Remember, if you have followed A&B they are waiting.) If your coordinator is not available call them yourself. The key is: IF IN DOUBT CALL THEM OUT. It will save time, lives and money. (No costs, if not negligent.)
- Your zone coordinator fire brigade in the direction that the fire is heading, and also the zone coordinator/s that the fire could head. (If coordinator not available the person who is primary must do it IMMEDIATELY.) 2 OR 3 CALLS = R10.00 / Failing to do so can cost millions (R).
- Once fire brigade arrive they are in charge. Please support them in every way possible. Ie: Persons to assist, accommodation, water, food, equipment, vehicles etc. REMEMBER THEY ARE SAVING YOU MONEY.
- At this stage a Joint Operations Centre must be established to coordinate the operation.
COSTS ARE PARAMOUNT IN FIGHTING FIRES. DO WHAT IS EXPECTED AND REQUIRED BY LAW AND COSTS ARE MINIMAL. DO NOTHING AND YOU CAN LOSE YOUR FARM. IS IT WORTH DOING NOTHING?