Impact SA

Youth trained as emergency firefighters to combat fires in informal settlements

Recipients of the Kolomela firefighting donation

Shack homes are constantly facing fire hazards that can easily spread due to informal settlement structure. According to research on fire safety, South Africa faces an estimated ten shack fires a day. The Tsantsabane municipal area in the Northern Cape is no exception.

Over the last year, the communities experienced several dangerous residential fires destroying livelihoods of shack residents. The most recent devastation was on Friday, 17 June 2022, the death of a four-years-old girl in a Riemvasmaak shack blaze sent shockwaves through the community

To promote community safety, Kumba Iron Ore’s Kolomela mine, commissioned the training of several youngsters in a basic firefighting course. Kolomela partnered with Creative Minds, a local company, to administer the much-needed training.

As most fire emergencies emanates from Postdene and Carnation, the training was kicked off in those areas. The programme also targeted the informal settlement of Boichoko, located closest to the mine, as a potential high-risk area for runaway veld fires. To address such fire hazards, robust controls are in place in our community, to assure the safety of our community.

As part of the training, the youth were all equipped with an emergency kit which will assist them as first responders to quell shack fires. The emergency kit contains, amongst others, fire extinguishers and fire blankets.

The course instructor, Lucky Diale, described the training as significant and for the greater good of the community. “The impact is very good, because we taught the students how to prevent basic fires,” Diale said. The drive to train community members will continue into 2023, to ensure all communities are covered.


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