Dealing with veldt fires in Brakwater, a peri-urban neighbourhood of WIndhoek

I met with Tangeni UUSIKU (1), section head: Fire safety and prevention, Emergency management division, at Fire Brigade HQ, to try sort out some confusion about dealing with veldt (= grass /bush/forest) fires in the greater BRAKWATER area within the city boundaries. That covers all the municipal sub-divisions we identify as the Brakwater Neighbourhood Watch (BWNHW) – east and west of the B1 highway, north of town.

The Fire Brigade Services Act (2) states that an emergency means any situation requiring urgent action to prevent death or injury to persons or damage to property.

As far as the BWNHW is concerned:

any veldt FIRE is considered an emergency, regardless of how or where it started!

any veldt FIRE must be reported to the Fire Brigade directly or via Emergency services of the City of WIndhoek. This is our civic duty – veldt FIRES are rarely contained/controlled on any one land-owner’s property!

the faster such veldt FIRES are reported, the faster we can co-opt community AND fire-brigade to assist in fighting these FIRES before they go out of control.

NB! Reporting a veldt FIRE will NOT COST you anything accept gracious appreciation from BWNHW community members!

If you still doubt this, you are welcome to call anyone on the BWNHW committee who will gladly relay your report of veldt FIRE to WIndhoek’s emergency services and/or fire brigade directly – all we need is an accurate location, i.e., plot number(s) AND sub-division – eg Plot 31 EMMERENTIA or Plot 31 BRAKWATER or Plot 31 NUBUAMIS !!!

In case of a veldt FIRE in the greater Brakwater area, please call or send an SMS to Atousa +264 81 128 9776 or +264 81 122 0627 with the details of location. She will then gladly post an alarm message on the BWNHW bulk SMS service to alert community members for assistance, and also call the Windhoek emergency service number(s).

The Local Authorities Fire Brigade Services Act, 2006 (Act No. 5 of 2006) makes provision for the City of Windhoek to charge fees (3) in respect of emergency services rendered – be this an ambulance ride or a fire-fighting exercise.

Such charges are made to the person(s) who own the property (ies) where such fire-fighting service was required. It must be stressed that such charges are determined at the discretion of the city’s fire chief (3).

The fee structure on which such charges may be made by the fire chief is determined by city council resolution, and updates are gazetted from time to time (4).

Importantly, a person who feels aggrieved by such a discretionary assessment may, within 14 days after receipt of the assessment, object in writing against the assessment as such or the amount thereof to the local authority concerned.

With effect from 01 July 2014, the latest gazetted prices (4) for veldt fire fighting service within the city’s boundaries are:

Field/grass fire vehicles, vehicle specially designed for such purpose with or without skid unit (water tank capacity or fixed tank capacity of 2500L and less) N$ 403.54
Fire Fighter/personnel member performing official duties N$ 139.15

While various rumours abound, I have *NEVER* seen an invoice for fire-fighting services on our property or that of our immediate neighbours in BRAKWATER, nor have I ever received any threats or negativity concerning our CONTINUED reporting of veldt fires to WIndhoek’s emergency service numbers, in the 25 odd years living in BRAKWATER.

I have collected the relevant bits of legislation in PDF format, and will be happy to share these documents with anyone interested, but the internet is hopelessly slow as always, so bear with me.

References

(1) Tangeni UUSIKU section head: Fire safety and prevention, Emergency management division. City of WIndhoek. +264 61 290 2816, cell +264 81 248 3824, email tangeni.Uusiku@windhoekcc.org.na

(2) GOVERNMENT GAZETTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA – 29 December 2006. No. 3760 GOVERNMENT NOTICE No. 221. Promulgation of Local Authorities Fire Brigade Services Act, 2006 (Act No. 5 of 2006)

(3) Fees and levies. A local authority may prescribe fees in respect of the services rendered by its service. A local authority may determine by notice in the Gazette (4), with the approval of the Minister, the levies payable in respect of the funding of its service…

and

The chief fire officer of a local authority concerned must in writing assess the fees payable by any person on whose behalf a service has been utilised and the town treasurer of such local authority must collect it.

and

Different fees may be prescribed in respect of services rendered in respect of different areas within a local authority area;

(4) GOVERNMENT GAZETTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA – 1 July 2014
No. 5497 General Notice No. 182 MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF WINDHOEK GENERAL AMENDMENT OF TARIFFS

The Council of the Municipality of Windhoek, under Section 30 (1) (u) of the Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act No. 23 of 1992), substituted Annexures I and II of the Fire Regulations promulgated under Government Gazette No 176 of 2010, as amended from time to time, with the following Annexures I and II respectively, with effect from 01 July 2014.
e.g.,
Field/grass fire vehicles, vehicle specially designed for such purpose with or without skid unit (water tank capacity or fixed tank capacity of 2500L and less) N$ 403.54
Fire Fighter/personnel member performing official duties N$ 139.15

Advertisements
About

Read my blog

Posted in #namibia, BWNHW, civil society, climate change, conservation, fire, neighbourhood watch, tatejoris, town planning, wildlife

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: