Fire blazes can be prevented Jay Caboz

By Jay Caboz, follow more on his photography page here

Gavin, who lives at number 15 Juweel Street, Jukskei Park, noticed that something was amiss after he hearing strange noises coming from his neighbour’s house. It was 4am but from his bedroom window it looked as if sunrise had happened already. The house next door, number 17 was on fire.

“I then heard the sound of the flames as the thatch caught fire. I phoned the fire department and went outside to start wetting my own thatch roof with the garden hose.”

By the time the firemen arrived the flames were two meters high.

Firemen struggled with the fire. They needed more water but the only fire hydrant was on the next street. Four more trucks and a portable water truck were called in to handle the blaze.

Until they came, firemen controlled the fire by wetting the border areas of the house. Other neighbours also began to wet their thatch rooftops in case the blaze spread.

“The house had been empty for a couple of months.” said Gavin to the other neighbours gathered around the street. One of them was watching the fire with her coffee mug still steaming.

Despite rumours of squatters on the property firemen said they found no evidence that anyone had been in the house when the fire had started.

Click here for photo essay

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Unanswered Questions

Stories like these are a regular occurrence in South Africa’s wintertime. Winter is dry in Joburg, and cold, according the city of Johannesburg these are the two leading causes that lead to fires in households in the city. People turn on their heaters and braziers, and carelessness can lead to devastating fires.

Bringing home reality http://sawdis1.blogspot.com/2012/06/real-burning-issue.html

The following is taken from an article written by Camilla Bath, Deputy News Editor for Eyewitness News, in Johannesburg.

“Fire is a terrifying thing. It tears through homes, guts buildings, destroys property and devastates the lives of those who survive it. Many don’t.”

Years ago, as a field reporter, I covered the story of a fire at an electrical sub-station in Johannesburg in which a man died. Authorities suspected the victim had been living in the sub-station and had inadvertently touched a live wire, starting the blaze late at night.

Early the following morning, I caught a glimpse of his blackened body through the painted slats of an air vent. It is an image that has stayed with me in vivid detail, one I wish I’d never seen: the badly burnt corpse somehow frozen in time, crouching, one hand outstretched, his face formless, its features seared away. Perhaps worse than that stiff figure was the smell of burnt flesh, unexpectedly sweet and cloying.

Every time I hear or read about another fatal fire, I’m taken straight back to that scene.”

Follow more of her article here -http://sawdis1.blogspot.com/2012/06/real-burning-issue.html

So what can be done?

The City of Johannesburg has outlined some Winter safety tips

  • Use only SABS-approved electrical and/or cooking apparatus
  • Experience has shown that in informal settlements – though this can also be the case in brick and mortar structures – people tend to disregard even the smallest detail regarding fire safety by warming themselves using primus stoves and braziers (mbawulas), only to fall asleep and their homes go up in flames
  • Do not leave candles burning unattended
  • Alcohol should be consumed in moderation
  • In case of emergency, call 10177 or 112
  • Children should be closely monitored
  • Fire sources such as heaters, stoves and irons should not be left unattended.
  • Boxes of matches and cigarette lighters should be stored safely

Everyone is welcome to volunteer at a fire station in Johannesburg of his/her choice. Life skills acquired through such volunteering can be used in life-saving situations. A well-trained volunteer can perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on victims of drowning and smoke inhalation. They can also train members of their own communities to be life-savers.

Other sites of interest 

Firewise

Dangerous areas

Preventing veld fires

ER 24

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Men’s hockey hunt for bonus points – Jay Caboz

By Jay Caboz

Published in the vuvuzela, 20 July 2012

 

The hockey men earned a win and a much-needed bonus point after beating Jeppe B 8-1 in their Premier League match on Saturday at the Randburg Astro.

The men’s team desperately needed to win by five goals. This would earn them the bonus point needed to catch up to the top four teams in the league.

In a slow-to-start game, Wits spent the first half struggling to score. Most of the play occurred in Jeppe’s half. There were a number of wayward shots despite Wits’ strikers being in good positions to score.

There were some tense moments when Jeppe B managed to get out of their own half and counter attack. However, their shots lacked firepower and were easily saved by Carl Zontag, Wits’ goalkeeper.

Wits continued to put pressure on Jeppe B’s defence but with little effect, until striker Andrew Hofmeyer managed to score late into the half after a tight scramble near the goal line.

“We had control for much of the game but struggled in the final third during the first half…only being 1-0 up at half time,” said Zontag.

Wits continued the second half from where they left off. They dominated play and, shortly after restarting, Matthew Povall capitalised his chances by adding another two goals to his impressive tally for the season.

Jeppe B managed to pull a single goal back toward the end of the second half, against the run of play, to bring the game to 3-1.

“The pressure and patience paid off as goals came more steadily through a couple well executed shorties and flicks from the Povall brothers, Matthew and Jay. In last 10 minutes the flood gates opened and we scored four more,” said Zontag.

Robert Morisse executed a well-planned penalty corner to give Wits their needed bonus point.

Wits did not stop there. They put in a further two more goals to end the game 8-1.

The goal scorers were as follows: Andrew Hofmeyer 1, Mark Tathum 1, Barry Morisse 1, Robert Morisse 1, Max Cobbett 1, and a hat trick to Matthew Povall.

The win secures Wits’ 5th position on the log. Wits is now two points behind log leaders Crusaders. They play against them this Sunday (July 22) at 12.45pm, Randburg Astro.

The hockey side comes fresh off a winning streak at their USSA tournament held in Johannesburg during the holiday break. They took gold in the B section, placing the side among the top eight universities in the country.

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Hockey player makes his come-back with a crushed skull

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Email: jaycaboz@gmail.com

Competing for top 100 spot requires upgrading

To achieve the proposed top 100 ranking in the next 10 years Wits needs to address issues that other more established European and American institutions do not face, according to the university’s Strategic Planning Division (SPD).

On its website, the SPD said the university needs to address these specifically African complications in order to reach the prestigious spot and compared the challenge of maintaining league table rankings to “operating on shifting sand”.

Reaching the top 100 spot will require continuous improvement of the quality of Wits’ teaching and research outputs according to the SPD’s Vision 2022 strategic framework.

One of the ways the university hopes to achieve this is by upgrading and building more facilities that are capable of generating a higher standard of research projects.

This in turn will attract highly talented students from around the world and provide an exceptional student-centred and research-driven experience.

Wits also plans to increase improve postgraduate enrolment said Prof Loyiso Nongxa, Vice Chancellor. Nongxa said all the planned improvements require greater financial investment and the university had set aside R1.2-billion for infrastructure development. Nongxa said the programme is starting to show results.

The Wits Art Museum, located at University Corner is set to open on May 19. The urban regeneration project cost the university R40 million and will showcase some of the 9 000 African artworks collected over the university’s 90 years.

The student residence in Parktown, Wits Junction, cost R511 million and is expected to raise the residence capacity of Wits campus by 25%.

Wits has also completed the FNB Building, the New Science Stadium and the upgrade to the Chamber of Mines Building since the project’s introduction by the vice chancellor when it began in 2007.

The implementation of these building projects is aimed at consolidating the university’s status as an intellectual powerhouse by 2015, according to an SPD statement.

Wits is currently ranked 251-275, alongside Stellenbosch university, according to the Times Higher Education World Rankings (THES).

On its website the SPD outlines some of the challenges African countries encounter when competing for ranking in systems such as THES.

These ranking systems can be ignorant of social and economical contexts; tend to focus on research in hard sciences rather than other subjects; rank universities on general rather than specific institutional performances and rely heavily on public perception.

Related Articles

Wits 90 Years for Freedom – Read about the Vuvuzelas front page image.

Wits winners – Read about the achivements of Witsies

Witsies over the edge – Read about those Witsies that have gone bad

Senior executives hand over baton -It has been confirmed that the vice-chancellor and deputy vice-chancellor (DVC) of finance and operations will leave Wits by May next year.

Visit Jays Blog for more articles and for more Projects by Jay Caboz

Visit the Wits Vuvuzela page for even of campus news!

90 Years for Freedom

The 13th edition of the Vuvuzela has a new design!

The image is a photographic composite of an image from the Wits Archives of political activity on campus, right, and life at Wits now, left. In this edition, we took a look back at how the university has evolved to its present state, and what it is doing to become one of the top 100 universities in the world.

Image by Jay Caboz