This winter could be cold and dark for millions of South Africans, with warnings of up to 16 hours of load-shedding per day in the coming months.
As more people look to alternative heating sources like gas, paraffin heaters, and open fires to keep themselves warm, it’s important to take some basic precautions to make sure you don’t become a statistic regarding South Africa’s house fires this winter.
Many people are concerned about fires due to power surges, but these only account for 8.2% of fire claims from October 2019 to March 2023.
According to King Price, home heating is one of the leading causes of house fires and can easily occur if you’re not careful how you heat your home.
The client experience partner at King Price Insurance, Wynand van Vuuren, provides the following safety tips:
Keep the heat in your house
Staying safe starts with staying as warm as possible. “Keep your curtains closed and make sure all windows are properly closed. Close the doors to unused rooms, and put rolled urolled-upin the cracks under your doors.”
Check your heat sources
All heating equipment can be dangerous if not handled carefully. “Make sure the pipes on your gas heaters are secure and keep anything that can burn at least a metre away from the heat source. Only plug one heat-producing appliance into one outlet at a time.”
Lights, plugs, and surges
If possible, don’t use candles for lighting. “When the power goes off, rather use flashlights or LED lights, or invest in some rechargeable bulbs. Surge protection at all plug points can save your appliances from being ‘fried’ by power surges when the electricity comes back on after load-shedding.”
Make sure your generator is safe
Don’t ever use a generator inside your home, garage, or shed, even if you have doors and windows open. “You can’t just buy a generator at your local hardware store and stick an extension cord into a wall socket. That’s called back-feeding, and it’s dangerous. All generators and alternative power supplies must be installed professionally by an electrician, or you run the risk of fires and damage to your appliances.”
Review your insurance cover
Rather be safe than sorry. “Make sure your buildings and home contents are covered properly. This includes making sure your home contents are covered for their current replacement value, not what you paid for them. For your buildings, make sure you have enough insurance to rebuild your home from the foundations up, including all the fixed fittings like taps and tiles, if you need to.”
Compiled by Justine Fortuin