Back to Information and Resources Page

On this page you will find:

  • Report a Fire
  • Fire Brigade Services
  • Responding to Assist with Firefighting
  • Communications
  • Mop-up & Observation
  • Food & Donations
  • Injuries & First Aid
  • Aerial Support & Insurance paid Fire Suppression
  • Actions After the Fire

Report a Fire

Report ALL veldfires to Cape Winelands District Fire Services on 0218874446

  1. Report fire to Cape Winelands District Fire Services on 0218874446;
  2. Notify all neighbours;
  3. Report fire on your local Fire WhatsApp group and/or Emergency Radio Channel;
  4. Members must fight the fire; offer assistance, workers and equipment to control the fire as soon as possible;
  5. Open relevant access gates and disable electric fences;
  6. If necessary place someone to give directions to fire and water filling points, and to control traffic;
  7. Be aware of current and predicted weather and other factors affecting the fire behaviour to prepare for adequate precautions and actions.
  8. Once the fire services arrive as an affected landowner make sure to talk regularly to the Incident Commander and give him your contact number.

Fire Brigade Services

These resources can very quickly become stretched when there are multiple incidents at the same time!!

Local Municipality Fire & Rescue
In charge of structural fires mostly in town limits and rescue at car accidents

Cape Winelands District Fire Services
In charge of veld fires and HazMat. Will take position of Incident Commander on arrival.

Priorities

  1. Protect life
  2. Protect structures
  3. Protect livelihoods
  4. Protect veld

Responding to Assist with Firefighting

Landowners are responsible for the safety of all Family, Friends, Neighbours and Contractors they request and/or allow to assist them to fight the fire.

  1. Please NO spectators! This is a safety concern as they block roads and turning points, and often are neither dressed, equiped or trained for firefighting.
  2. Equipment: Ensure all your equipment is working, all required equipment is secured to vehicle and water tanks are full.
  3. PPE: Ensure you and all responding with you are wearing PPE (minimum long jeans or overall pants, leather boots, cotton shirt, gloves, drinking water). Other good to haves are torches at night, goggles, mouth & nose cover, hat or hardhat. Look here under PPE for more good to haves.
  4. Report to IC: On arrival report to person in charge of fire (Incident Commander), giving him/her your name, contact number and number of persons with you. 
  5. Driving and Parking: Drive without breaking traffic laws and ensuring the safety of all road users. Park so that large fire trucks can still pass and turn.
  6. Communications: Ensure you have communications with your fellow landowners and that at least 1 of them has direct communication with the Incident Commander or your assigned supervisor.
  7. Lookouts: Set up lookouts for spot fires and flare ups.
  8. SAFETY: Keep the safety of yourself and your team in mind at all times!

Communications

  1. IC: if you are an affected landowner/manager, make sure the IC has your name and contact number and you have his/her's. Check in regularly to discuss fire status, strategies and tactics.
  2. Supervisor (IC or Division Supervisor): report to regularly with any updates on your section, your position and number of firefighters under your command.
  3. FMU/Ward leader: if at the fire check in and out with him/her.
  4. Other responding landowners: keep in regular contact by using local fire radio channel or WhatsApp group
  5. Injuries & accidents: need to be reported to IC immediately
  6. When leaving fire: report to IC or superior

Mop-up & Observation

Mop-up is the most important part of firefighting!!! If not done properly you will be back in the next few days to do it all over again. Landowners need to please take responsibility for this as Fire Services need to be released to other sections of the fire or other incidents.

  1. The scene of the fire may not be left unattended until the FPO or designated person/FPA Manager/FMU Leader/Fire Services is satisfied;
  2. Mop-up should be done during and directly after firefighting. This is the securing of a fire perimeter of 10m by:
    1. smouldering material is moved further into burnt area or extinguished (cooled down with water or smothered with sand);
    2. any bushes and small trees still remaining in the 10m are cut down and moved further into the burnt area;
    3. on hillsides where rolling material could ignite unburnt fuel below small trenches are dug;
  3. Set up regular patrolls. These should only end when all sections of the burnt area are cold (no less than 48 hours);
    1. have quick respons firefighting resources on standby to attend to any flare ups;
    2. check weather report for changes in wind direction or increase in wind speeds and increase partolls then;
  4. Regular patrolls should be more often and for longer than 48 hours where:
    1. below surface fires may have occurred e.g. in dense litter or marshy ground;
    2. tree stumps may continue to smoulder.

Food & Donations

  1. Fire Services, other Agencies and contract teams have budget and prior arrangements for food and refreshments, and therefore donations are a luxury not a necessity.
    1. Please speak to the Logistics Section Chief or IC before making a donation of perishable food for quantity and delivery time to allow for planning that all firefighter are feed, to ensure food safety is maintained and to prevent wastage.
  2. Landowners are in charge of providing / arranging drinking water and food for their staff. 
    1. Please speak to the FPA Ward or FMU leader if you wish to assist with this.
  3. Please consider food safety at all times!
    1. It is often hours without refridgeration before food can get to firefighters. 
    2. It is often not practical, safe or sometimes possible to drive food out to firefighters, meaning food packs sit in hot vehicles or backpacks for many hours till needed.
    3. Therefore non-perishable food items are preferred.
  4. Good rations for firefighters are:
    1. 500ml or 1Liter Water bottles
    2. Energade, Powerade or similar
    3. High energy snacks (trail mix, peanuts & raisins, biscuits, energy bars, biltong)
    4. Canned foods (baked beans, corned beef, tuna, spaghetti and meat balls, creamed sweetcorn, etc)
    5. Ice cold cooldrinks and chocolates are always a treat for firefighters coming off a fire
    6. And no one will say no to a cup of coffee

Injuries & First Aid

  • All injuries requiring more than first aid treatment must be reported to the Incident Commander immediately.
  • Always have a first aid kit on hand.

In your first aid kit it is good to have extra treatment supplies for:
  1. Eyes (eye drops)
  2. Burns
  3. General wound care
  4. Dehydration
  5. Medication for known conditions and allergies for persons in firefighting team

Aerial Support & Insurance

  • Initial Attack by Province with Working on Fire
    • LIMITED budget, therefore at Cape Winelands District Municipality discretion.
  • Thereafter Cape Winelands contractor (not WoF)
  • Working on Fire aerial resources for private use
    • Available to FPA members on 2nd call (1st call Municipalities, CapeNature, MTO)
    • Please discuss with Incident Commander first.
      • All aircraft have to be controlled through the Incident Commander.
      • He will advice you on the availability and effectiveness.
      • Aerial firefighting is most effective during initial attack while the fire is small.
      • Ground teams need to work with the aircraft to make aerial firefighting effective.
      • The section to be bombed needs to be considdered in relation to the rest of the fire, terrain and vegetation.
      • The Incident Commander may move any firefighting resource to an area of higher priority.
    • Aerial firefighting is a costly undertaking!
    • Make sure you understand the T&Cs of your insurance policy.
  • Landowner arranged firefighting teams
    • Must report to the Incident Commander on arrival
    • Same communications protocol as for all Landowners.

Actions after the Fire

  1. All firefighting equipment must be checked and serviced as required to ensure full serviceability;
  2. Report the fire to the SAPS and your insurance company;
    1. collect as much information as possible as to the "origin" of the fire (when, where, how);
    2. see section on opening a case for a veld fire here;
    3. this fire report form (download here) will assist you to collate the most important information;
  3. The FPO or designated person/FPA Manager may conduct a fire debrief when necessary to discuss the actions during the fire especially where the fire spread across properties. Members should make every effort to attend post mortems of fires that they were involved in or were threatened by.