SQUATTER camp residents have grown accustomed to shack fires that destroy entire communities.In an effort to decrease the number of shack fires, FTS Safety Group has trained about 20 residents at the Kennedy Road, Blackburn Village and Malacca Road squatter camps in Durban.The residents will serve as fire safety ambassadors in their communities.They received two weeks’ training on how to foresee and prevent fires.The group’s managing director Patric Eleftheriou said the company realised the safety procedures that many people in suburbs took for granted were needed in squatter camps. He said the experience of staff member Michael Ntimbane (40), who lives in Kennedy Road squatter camp, motivated them to start the project. “Two years ago, Michael lost everything when a fire ripped through the squatter camp. The company donated household items and clothing and helped him rebuild his shack. Less than a year later, a similar fire wreaked havoc in the squatter camp. The only difference was that Michael, who had received safety training, was the only one who was able to protect his shack.Michael said: “I have no doubt the initiative is going to make a difference to the lives of squatter camp residents.”
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