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CoCT sees 13% drop in fire and rescue incidents for 2019/2020

The municipality said that the decline in the number of incidents was good news, but that it was cold comfort to those families who had lost loved ones as a result of fires.

Firefighters on their way to battle the fire on Signal Hill in Cape Town on 27 January 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town said that there had been a 13% drop in fire and rescue incidents year-on-year.

For the 2019/2020 financial year, firefighters responded to just under 22,500 incidents, including fires and special service calls like motor vehicle accidents, trauma and hazmat incidents.

"The nationwide lockdown definitely impacted on the number of calls that the Fire and Rescue Service responded to in the last few months; particularly special service calls like motor vehicle accidents and trauma incidents," the City of Cape Town said, adding that it corresponded to restriction of movement and the initial alcohol sales ban.

The municipality said that the decline in the number of incidents was good news, but that it was cold comfort to those families who had lost loved ones as a result of fires.

The number of fatalities in these incidents had increased.

There have been 170 deaths recorded in these incidents compared to 113 in the 2018/2019 financial year.

The city’s JP Smith: "We have in this year had numerous incidents were the fires were limited to single structures but with multiple fatalities and we need to continue working on our fire safety efforts in partnership with communities as this requires a collective effort. An analysis of the causes of residential fires for the period April to June indicates that electrical faults and open flames counted for just over 45% of all incidents."

The municipality added that the attacks on firefighters was another issue that needed addressing, saying that it ultimately resulted in slower response times to incidents, or no response at all if a situation was particularly volatile.

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