Ward 65 Clr Lindani Zulu is concerned about the lack of service from the Malvern Fire Station.
According to Zulu, the fire station has been without a fire engine for some time and the community has been complaining that when there are fires, they have to wait for fire engines from other areas to assist them.
In a recent fire in Mangolongolo, Zulu went to the fire station for help but was told there was no fire engine to assist.
“We had to wait for fire engines from as far as Alex and Ekurhuleni to come and assist with the fire. We have a fire station close by but it’s not helping the community.
“Especially in this area, we have a number of informal settlements that are prone to fires and fire hazards during the winter season,” said Zulu.
He said he has written a letter to MMC for Public Safety Micheal Sun requesting fire engines to be allocated to Malvern Fire Station.
In its February 27 edition, the EXPRESS reported that the City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ) Emergency Management Services (EMS) took delivery of three new fire engines to serve Malvern, the CBD and Berea and that an additional two fire engines will be rolled out before the end of this financial year.
It was then reported that the fire engine serving Malvern will be placed at Fairview Fire Station.
There was no mention of the Malvern Fire Station itself receiving a fire engine.
Stakeholder relations manager for public safety Luyanda Longwe commented that the Malvern area is served by more than one fire station.
“The city faces a huge challenge in terms of its aging fire engine fleet. Some of the fire engines are more than 30 years old. The Department of Public Safety has embarked on a fire engine fleet replacement programme. To date, five new plus two refurbished fire engines were delivered to seven fire stations across the city.
“Malvern Fire Station is included in the fleet replacement programme and it is supported by the Fairview Fire Station which services the Malvern area. The residents of Malvern are covered by more than one fire station,” said Longwe.
She said service delivery will always be under strain because of the constant population growth in the city.
“Population grows at a conservatively estimated 3 000 new residents per month, this puts tremendous pressure on service delivery. The city will always be faced with challenges. Hence with the fire engine replacement programme, the CoJ EMS under the Department of Public Safety has on June 1 appointed and deployed 91 new firefighters to its service. The newly appointed firefighters come as a boost to CoJ EMS’ firefighting services at the various fire stations across the city.
“The Malvern Fire Station is capacitated with 37 firefighters and paramedics. This number includes the additional firefighters who have recently been deployed,” said Longwe.
She said they were unaware of Zulu not receiving assistance from the Malvern Fire Station or CoJ EMS.
“The fire in Mangolongolo was not only attended to by CoJ EMS but also by Ekhululeni EMS in terms of a reciprocal service agreement. All emergency services in Gauteng signed the Memorandum of Agreement with the Gauteng Provincial Government on the provision of fire and ambulance services.
“This means that in any local municipality in Gauteng, where all their resources have been committed to incidents, it can activate the nearest fire station to the incident,” said Longwe.
She said the city is aware that informal settlements are vulnerable to fires during the winter season and they are educating the community on fire safety.
“We have rolled out community safety programmes. One important programme is the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programme where community members mainly from informal settlements are trained with basic firefighting, safety and first aid skills.
“Once the CERT members complete the programme, they are issued a Jozi safety kit containing a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, solar rechargeable light, child-safety paraffin container, hydro-gel and bandage for burn treatment and a safety paraffin stove in a plastic bucket,” said Longwe.