Fire season is here

Monday, 19 October 2020

In recent years’ South Africans have seen the effect of devastating fires, especially in the Cape Peninsula. These often went hand in hand with the loss of property, personal belongings, damage to the environment and even the loss of lives. In this regard insurance has become a must and we are not only talking about short term insurance, but unfortunately also about life insurance.


However, it’s not only in the Cape Peninsula where fires are prevalent. In the Western Cape we see their fires increasing during the summer months, or their drier months. But with the start of winter, the fire season is fast approaching in the rest of the country as well, which extends until the rainy season or summer.


Working on Fire estimates that South Africa will experience an average temperature increase between 3 to 5°C by the end of the century. This may increase droughts which in turn can exacerbate the incidence of fire risk.


As proof, Global Fire Watch reports that a staggering 13 285 fire alerts or hot spots throughout South Africa, were detected by thermal sensors on different NASA satellites from 1 May 2020 until 2 June 2020.


According to Working on Fire, while wildland fires are often caused by lightning or falling rocks in mountainous regions, more fires are started by accident, by people being careless with open flames.

At Auto & General our statistics suggest that from 2018 to date, 22.2% of fire claims were caused accidentally.


Tips to keep you and your property safe during the fire season:

  1. Don’t start open fires and if you must, ensure that you comply with safety measures.
  2. Fireproof your yard first, by removing any dead vegetation and utilising fire-resistant plants near the home. Some fire-resistant plants are Live Oak, Sycamore, Yucca, Agave, Salvias, and Lavender.
  3. Consider tile or metal roofing if you are replacing a roof or building a new property. Both of these are more fire resistant as opposed to thatch roofs.
  4. There are some very good fire-retardant paints on the market and although it might not protect your property completely, every little bit helps.
  5. Install smoke detectors and ensure that they are regularly serviced. The same goes for fire-extinguishers. These are especially necessary near any open flames or stoves.
  6. Be sure that all gas equipment is regularly serviced and kept away from open flames.
  7. Make sure that you understand the fire sections under your short-term insurance policy and ensure that you are covered for all incidences, especially if you stay in a fire prevalent area.


Finally, if you’re in the path of a fire, get out immediately! Your life is more valuable than your home.