Most fires are caused by lack of thought or concentration, or by carelessness. Matches and lighters, candles, heating appliances and equipment such as electric blankets can all be lethal if not carefully monitored. A fire cannot exist without heat, oxygen and fuel. If one of these elements is taken away, the fire will die.

Fire can be caused by the following:
Friction
Hot Surfaces
Sparks
Open Flames
Chemical Reactions And
Spontaneous Combustion.
Fires are most often caused by electrical faults, open flames, hot surfaces,
chemical reactions, friction, lightning or static electricity.

The following tips will help keep you and your
family safe from fire.
Using electricity safely
 Do not overload your electrical circuits – in other words, don’t keep
more than two 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)
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, fueling 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.

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM A FIRE IF YOU LIVE NEAR AN
OPEN VELD OR ON THE URBAN FRINGE BY:
Maintaining adequate firebreaks around your property
 Forming a safety zone around your house, using gravel or lawn that is
kept short
 Keeping your home and garden free of debris such as dead leaves,
twigs or litter
 Cleaning debris from roof surfaces and gutters
 Cutting down trees and bushes next to the house, or creepers on the walls Removing dead branches from trees and bushes
Keeping a fire extinguisher in your house and /or having your garden
hose rolled up and ready for use in the event of a fire.
 Considering installing screens, shutters or heavy fire-resistant curtains
 Storing any firewood, gas, petrol or paint away from living areas
 Providing enough distance between dwellings for emergency access
 Where possible, having more than one exit from your dwelling
 Having an escape plan and making sure that the whole family knows
the plan
 Ensuring that fire hydrants remain unobstructed, especially by parked
vehicles
 Ensuring easy access and turning space for emergency vehicles.

How to prevent shack fires
 Keep a close eye on paraffin stoves. Don’t cook near a window with a
curtain
 Make sure the stove doesn’t fall over, which may burn children or
cause a fire
 Make sure candles are secure and can’t fall over. Don’t go to sleep with
candles still burning
 Teach children about the dangers of fire
 Watch out for discarded cigarette butts
 Be aware of the dangers of illegal and faulty electricity connections,
which also cause fires
 Keep a bucket handy to fill with water so that you can extinguish
flames easily
Keep a bucket of sand to put out paraffin fires Build dwellings a good distance (at least 3 m) apart to prevent fires from spreading. Make sure this space is kept open.
 Keep roads and access to dwellings clear at all times
 Do not block roads with possessions when there is a fire
 Do not prevent or disrupt the work of fire crews fighting fires