George Municipality and NSRI were put on high alert last night, Thursday 7 December when a marine parachute flare was set off in Wilderness around 20h25. Resources were mobilized at great cost to check entry points for boats and kayaks, local skiboat clubs were contacted and volunteers were activated. Viewing photographs taken it was established that the flare was illegally set off from land and then floated over the sea.
Fire Chief for George, Neels Barnard stressed today how dangerous and irresponsible it is to set off marine rocket flares for fun. The NSRI is compelled to log and investigate each and every incident in case it is a real emergency which of course takes up their time and valuable resources and, most seriously, could detract from genuine flare sightings. It is also hugely dangerous for those setting off the flares, which, as they are quite costly, we suspect are also probably out of date. Marine guidance notes explain that all old flares need to be disposed of correctly. Rocket flares degrade with time and there have been cases where the rocket propellant separates from the parachute and you are left with an uncontrolled flare which then comes back down and hits the person who has fired it off.
This incident is viewed in a serious light and is regarded as a prosecutable offence in terms of Chapter 10 of the Bylaw relating to Community Fire Safety. The public is requested to notify our Disaster Services Centre on 044 801 6300 they have any information around the incident of last night.
George Municipality will continue to firmly enforce the applicable by-laws and our Law Enforcement officials are deployed at various areas and beaches throughout the season to attend to similar complaints.
Please report the illegal setting off of fireworks to 044 801 6350 or after hours at 044 801 6300.
Please report the illegal trade in fireworks to 044 801 6350 or after hours at 044 801 6300.
FIRE EMERGENCIES: 044 801 6311
TOLL FREE DISASTER NUMBER: 087 152 9999