Families living in informal settlements are being equipped to help safeguard their homes from fire.
Twelve residents from informal areas at Sea Vista have been armed with innovative new fire extinguishers, designed to kill small fires and saturate the immediate vicinity so as to prevent flames from spreading.
Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, said the municipality would be piloting 50 of the new extinguishers, designed, manufactured and donated by the Port Elizabeth-based company Fire Killa.
According to the company, the extinguishers differ from standard ones in that they are made from plastic and are not pressurized.
The unit consists of a plastic bottle, containing a non-toxic solution of a special formula, water and a foaming agent. There is also a cartridge containing an activator which, when required, is released into the water by means of a hand-activated plunger.
Once activated, the extinguisher produces about 10 to 12 litres of foam, dispensed through a nozzle at a rate of about one litre per second, to cool and smother the flames.
The extinguisher is re-usable and can be recharged by replacing the cartridge and solution.
Benson said 12 residents from Sea Vista had been trained to use the new extinguishers and had each received a unit to help combat fires in their settlements.
“We will also be training and arming residents in other informal areas at high risk of fires,” he said.
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks thanked Fire Killa for piloting their product in the region.
“We believe innovation is key to achieving service excellence and keeping our communities safe,” he said.
“We are especially pleased to be able to support South African innovators and entrepreneurs as opposed to looking elsewhere for solutions.”
Member of the East Cape Provincial Legislature, Vicky Knoetze, commended the municipality for being open to new ideas.
“That is the difference between Kouga and other municipalities of the same size. Kouga is bold and not scared to embrace innovation. That is what will take the region forward,” she said.