We are leaving Summer behind and entering Autumn, and while many enjoy the cooler weather, longer evenings and changing colours of nature; it is also the time of year when salads are being replaced by stews, and fans by heaters… and anticipated increased loadshedding. To first responders, this means an increase in domestic and commercial fires.

Here are some useful pointers to safeguard your family and workplace from avoidable fires.

in the kitchen

  • Never leave your kitchen unattended whilst cooking.
  • Keep flammable items away from heat.
  • Be extra careful with grease fires / chip pans.
  • Keeping your cooking area clutter-free.
  • Keep stoves and ovens off when not in use.


  • Unplug items you’re not using.
  • If you are able, purchase a surge protector plug.
  • Be especially mindful of cell phone chargers which can easily over heat.
  • Ensure electrical cords are in good condition – no fraying or exposed wires.
  • If possible, plug appliances and lights into separate electrical outlets.
  • Minimise extension cords – avoid running them under a carpet, close to curtains or across a walking area.
  • If possible, use only one device per plug point – or at least avoid multiple
    devises being plugged in together.
  • Ahead of loadshedding – unplug all heat-generating items – irons, hair-driers
    and irons etc.


  • Be cautious with open flames and never leave a flame unattended.
  • Keep burning candle in glass jar or holder (with no lid) on a flat unobstructed
  • Be extra careful around heating appliances – fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, furnaces, boilers and portable heaters.
  • Leaking/defective batteries in appliances are a fire hazard. Remove them and
    dispose of them safely.
  • Now that it is cold – it is tempting to smoke indoors. Be mindful of ventilation
    and not leaving lit cigarettes /cigars etc unattended. If you are using matches,
    make sure they are complexly out before tossing them in a bin or open space.
  • Cut the clutter – it is safer to have unobstructed surfaces and space.
  • Make sure everything is unplugged and all flames are extinguished if going to
    bed, leaving the house, or anticipating loadshedding.
  • It is a really good idea to have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket – and know
    how to use them.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year If a fire occurs in your home.

The experts suggest that in the case of a fire: Stop, Drop and Roll. Stop what you're doing. Don’t make unnecessary movement; drop to the floor and lie down covering your face with your hands; roll around.

If leaving a building – if it is safe to do so, close doors and windows behind you to contain the fire. Evacuate the building as efficiently as possible – calling out to others to leave as well. Preparation and knowledge are key to keeping safe this winter.

At St John:
– There are basic fire warden short training courses teaching you how to prevent a fire, about the different types of fire extinguishers and how to use them, and what to do in the event of a fire.
– There is a special first aid kit for burns – containing everything you need to manage a burn situation in an emergency.

Get out, stay out, call for help, and don’t go back inside for anything or anyone


Empower yourself with a First Aid Kit packed to handle emergencies confidently, from minor cuts to major mishaps.

Written by Illa Thompson