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Innovative paint to prevent rapid spread of shackfires

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Families in some 800 shacks across Cape Town should feel a lot safer by Christmas when their homes have been painted with a special fire shield.

The Khusela Ikhaya paint is water-based, eco-friendly and expands to form a fire-retardant shield when exposed to extreme heat.

It slows down the spread of fire, giving residents more time to escape harm.

The effect of the paint also allows firefighters to minimise the damage to neighbouring structures.

Devastating blazes spark in the city’s informal settlements almost every week. The fires not only destroy people’s homes, but lead to the loss of important documents, possessions, and quite often, lives.

Mayor Patricia de Lille launched the Misa Umlilo Stop the Fire campaign a week ago.

With residents’ cooperation, she started a pilot phase to paint structures in four informal settlements.

So far 180 of the 550 structures in Phumlani Village, Lotus River, had been painted with a base coat, said De Lille’s spokesperson Zara Nicholson.

Half of the 136 homes in Pook se Bos, Rylands, had a base coat already, as did 80% of the 104 structures in Flamingo Crescent in Lansdowne.

Colour painting would start later this week. The project was expected to be complete by the 15th of December.

Homes in Wag ‘n Bietjie, Nomzamo, would be painted in the New Year.

Around 80 residents in these areas are being employed as painters.

“We will roll out the campaign as funding becomes available. We are also working to get financial assistance from the corporate sector,” said Nicholson.

De Lille said that while the city was building houses according to a waiting list for those who qualified, it rolled out these initiatives as an interim measure to save lives and property.

“Unfortunately, most fires are caused by negligence and the onus is on all residents to ensure that they exercise extra caution with flammable materials.” News24


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