14 July 2022

Increase in fires as load shedding ramps up

Submitted by Jacqui

House fires are increasing as a result of extended loadshedding and residents need to be extra careful, says Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communication at Fidelity ADT.

“We have been made aware of several instances where fires have broken out in home because of power cuts. In one instance a resident was cooking when the power went off. She then went to the shops and while she was out the power came back on. She had accidentally left the stove on and a fire broke out as a result of the food burning,” explains Hattingh.

In another instance, a resident was running a generator in an outside shed. Because the generator was running for an extended period, heat built up in the shed and it caught on fire.  “We have other reports of people forgetting to turn off electrical items like hair dryers, stoves, heaters, curling irons and so on during loadshedding. When the power returns, these items switch back on and can cause serious damage as they overheat.”

She adds that leaks in gas heaters and gas bottles are another issue. “We are urging all residents to be exceptionally careful at this time and to ensure they have smoke detectors installed and fire extinguishers in their homes,” says Hattingh.

Alarm batteries are also running flat due to the extended cuts and the short time between power cuts. “Homeowners and business owners need to test their alarm and security systems on a regular basis, but this has become more important now than ever before. The battery backup system is a crucial element that needs to be tested, to give you the ease of mind that it will still offer monitoring and protection when the power goes out.”

She says in one of these fire instances the resident pressed their panic button but it did not work because the battery had drained due to an extended power cut. “If you have a stable and correctly programmed security system coupled with a battery that is in a good condition, it will continue to protect your home or your place of work during any power outage. Most modern alarm systems have a back-up battery pack that activates automatically when there is a power failure. We recommend considering an additional battery backup pack, as load shedding puts additional strain on the battery,” she says.

Hattingh offers the following important tips on fire safety and encourages parents to speak to their children about these tips:

Do not overload electrical sockets or run electrical cords under carpets. Develop and practice an escape plan – plan two ways out of every bedroom. Display your local Fire Department telephone number near the phone, then memorise it. Crawl on the floor when there is smoke. Never open a door that is hot to the touch. Wake everybody in the house. If your clothing catches fire – STOP, DROP and ROLL. Have a safe place to meet out of the house. Never re-enter the house for pets or personal belongings\. Tackle the fire if it is safe to do so

“Remember, in a fire emergency every second counts. Getting the fire department to the property as soon as possible is crucial. It is also very important that the fire department can access the property when they arrive so ensure someone nearby has keys to enable access. People should only attempt to tackle a fire if it is safe to do so, larger fires should be left to experienced fire department personnel,” she concludes.

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Issued on behalf of Fidelity ADT by Cathy Findley Public Relations, for media queries contact Jacqui Moloi at 071 764 8233 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.