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Tag: Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital

How To Survive a Fire

Several fires have been causing destruction across South Africa in the past week.  Hundreds of families were left homeless and salvaging their belongings after a fire in the Gazine Informal Settlement near the Kwa Mai Mai market in Johannesburg caught fire.  At least 9 people were killed in the fire.

More recently the fire at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital made headlines as 0ver 700 people were evacuated from the building.   The most recent fire is still raging in Cape Town.  It has destroyed several buildings and parts of the University of Cape Town. Today, 4 firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.





With winter fast approaching, it is important to be aware of the dangers of runaway fires.  Informal settlements often fall victim to fires, mostly caused by burning candles or paraffin lamps, or heaters.  As the winter season approaches, informal settlements fall victim to fires because of candles and heating devices.


Uncontrolled wildfires spread quickly, especially on very hot and dry, windy days. If you do become trapped in your vehicle, car, or outside during a forest fire, you need to know how you can protect yourself.

• If you’re outside, hiking, or elsewhere, and realise you may be in danger, cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth or piece of clothing.
• If you are unsure of which way to run and can’t tell where the fire is coming from, try to find an area without any bush or vegetation or plants.
• If you know of a body of water nearby, get to it so that you can put it between yourself and the fire.
• Alternatively you can find a ditch or a low spot on the ground; keep low by lying face down and covering your body with things like wet clothing, soil, or mud.
• Call for emergency services immediately and inform your friends and family where you are by sending them a pin location.



• Shout “FIRE!” several times and go outside right away. Call emergency services.  If you live in a building with elevators, ALWAYS use the stairs. Leave all your belongings where they are and save your own life, it is more important.
• If closed doors or handles are warm to the touch or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open any doors that are warm to the touch.
• After the evacuation, meet the rest of the family members in a pre-determined location and remain there until everyone in the household is safely outside or rescued.



• Fill all sinks, bathtubs, and other large containers with cold water.
• Keep doors and windows closed, but do NOT lock them.
• Move furniture and curtains away from the windows and doors.
• If you can manage to do it safely, use a garden hose or sprinkler (or turn on your irrigation system) to wet the walls of your house and the outside grounds.
• Stay as far away as possible from flammable items.


• Drive to a place as far away from foliage and other flammable materials as possible.
• Find an open clearing to park in.
• Close your windows and air vents because to avoid smoke getting into your vehicle
• Lie on the floor of your car, cover yourself with clothing or a blanket and call emergency services.
• Let your loved ones know where you are by sending a pin location.

In life-threatening situations, it’s important to protect yourself. Your life is always more important than possessions.

Covid-19: Bouquets of flowers lift spirits of nurses

Health-care workers at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg were honoured for their bravery and service during the coronavirus pandemic in Gauteng.

They emerged from the hospital to be greeted by 250 potted bouquets of Cyclamen flowers – spelling out the word “heroes”.

Staff working on the front line against the virus said they appreciated the gesture from two NPOs, Ubuntu Beds and Together We Bloom.

Dealing with the impact of the pandemic has not been rosy for many of them, who are isolated from their families while treating patients and keeping the hospital functioning.

“I am alone, but not lonely.” This was the mantra repeated by midwife Phili Twala to keep herself sane – but she said they eventually rang hollow.

“This whole thing makes you feel alone. There’s no family time. The influx of people coming in is too much. We have no time to rest,” she said.

“I deal with three things: Covid-19, a mother and the baby. That’s how careful I need to be. I had a breakdown recently. I don’t live with my family because I can’t risk their lives. You console yourself until the words start to mean nothing.”

Since the virus hit, hundreds of health-care workers have been infected, with nurses accounting for many of the cases. A lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), over-exposure due to shortage of staff and long commutes in public transport are all risk factors.

Twala is grateful that awareness of Covid-19 has improved. “I just want to say that if you’re going to wear your mask and not cover your nose, rather not do it,” she added.

Many staff say the battle against the pandemic has been a lonely one. The flowers lifted their spirits.

Charlotte Maxeke CEO Gladys Bogoshi said the pandemic has put strain on the logistics and running of the hospital.

“The fear is there within our staff. They are frustrated because they fear they could take the disease home. Your family is your comfort, but this time you can’t even lean on them. If someone has been exposed, you find that the whole team is also infected. But the work must continue because we have patients whose lives depend on us,” she said.

“When you come, you’re not guaranteed that you will stay in your ward, because if the pressure is in casualty or ICU, you may be asked to go there. This day means a lot, the gesture goes a long way because at least someone cares.

“The front line now is the community because that’s where the most infections take place. We are the last defence if all fails.”

Kim Whitaker, the founder of Ubuntu Beds, said the initiative was inspired by their friends in Lebanon, Baytna Baytak.

We chose Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital as a space for the installation to show our appreciation for health-care heroes. They are one of the largest Covid-19 hospitals in Gauteng, and we have already accommodated many health-care workers from this hospital. We thought it a fitting space to celebrate our heroes.”

 Stefan Zeelie of Together We Bloom said: “When a nation comes together, its people get the opportunity to bloom from a small seed into the beauty we see in everyone.”


Source: TimesLive

Photo Credit: TimesLive

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