WALVIS BAY – The Walvis Bay Municipality is in the process to establish a satellite fire station in order to cut down the response time firefighters take to get to shack fires.
With winter being the period in which most shack fires are experienced, council felt the need to establish the satellite fire station in Tutaleni to ensure fires are contained and put out as swiftly as possible.
Walvis Bay mayor Immanuel Wilfred during the monthly council meeting held on Tuesday said the municipality saw the need to prioritize the satellite fire station due to the fact the settlement is overcrowded with fire-prone shacks.
He added the new fire station is one of council’s capital priorities for the new financial year and will significantly boost the duties of fire fighters especially when it comes to the response to fires and that of training volunteer fire fighters.
“We are in the middle of winter, despite the spells of east weather in between, it is often the time for us to be concerned about the outbreak of fires. The most vulnerable residents are those who live in shacks. Even though we have come a long way in enlarging the permanent contingent of fire fighters to improve our fire-fighting capabilities, the root of the problem remains, namely over congestion of informal structures. However, if people follow basic safety rules, the risk of fires can be also be minimised,” Wilfred said.
He then explained that the long-term solution is to have as many people as possible housed in units that are decent and dignified.
“Fortunately, housing has become one of our country’s main priorities and Walvis Bay is one of the front runners when it comes to Shack at the town are normally built with easily combustible materials like cardboard, plastics and wood, while electricity is illegally connected from the main house. This normally puts a strain on the electricity, resulting in shack fires. Apart from that, stoves and candles left unattended also cause shack fires in many instances.