The Fire Protection Association of Southern Africa reports a total
fire loss for 1999 in South Africa of R2 356 853 000. This figure equates to
approximately R4 million per day.
Formal dwellings have the highest reported fire fatalities followed by
informal dwellings. A total of 51 369 fire calls were undertaken by Fire
departments across the country. 3825 of these were to dwellings, 2240 to
informal dwellings, 421 involved flats, 193 to outbuildings and 76 involved
hotels/boarding houses. 61 hospitals, 171 educational establishments/schools,
42 churches, 29 night clubs173 offices were also involved in fire. The most
common cause of fire in dwellings was open flames followed by electrical
faults, cooking, arson and smoking. In informal dwellings the most common cause
of fire is also open flames followed by arson, cooking, electrical and then
smoking. Almost 40% of all fires are caused through open flames. The highest
amount of fire loss in Rands occurred to residential structures totalling well
over R258 million.
Data from the First Annual Report of the National Injury Mortality
Surveillance System for 1999 conducted by the Violence and Injury Surveillance
Consortium which represents approximately 25% of the total estimated fatal
injuries in South Africa indicates the following:
Accidental deaths due to external causes accounted for 34% of all fatal
injuries, 9% were due to burns. Accidental deaths other than transport related,
indicate that 41% were due to burns, which is the highest in this category.
Burns were the second leading cause of accidental deaths. Burns were the
leading external cause of death in infants under one year of age. Burns was the
second leading external cause of death in children from 1 to 4 years of age.
For children between 5 and 9 years burns was the 4th leading external cause of
death. Burn related deaths occurred most frequently in private homes and were
the leading cause of death in residential institutions (e.g. hostels) and on
farms. The highest incidence of burn deaths occurs between August and October.
The proportion of burn deaths involves more females than males. The highest
frequency of burn deaths occurred during "sleeping hours" at night at from
22:00 to 06:00 and peaked at 01:00.
To read "A PROFILE OF FATAL INJURIES IN SOUTH AFRICA 1999. First Annual
Report of the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System", please click on
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