Security

Prevention of Fire Outbreak

As Nigeria is still struggling to contain the spread of Coronavirus pandemic, the country has experienced six different fire outbreaks within two weeks.

Treasury house, a building housing the office of the Accountant-general of the Federation located at Samuel Akintola Boulevard, Garki area of Abuja was gutted by fire on 8th of April this year.

Few days later, officers of the fire service had a hectic day, putting out fire at the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja.

The fire outbreak was said to have been caused by an electrical surge from one of the air conditioners in the building.

And just last week, goods worth millions of naira were lost during a fire outbreak at a shopping complex at the popular Dugbe market in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital and after about two hours of raging, the fire was quenched.

In another tragic event on the 16th of April sixteen, fourteen people were said to have died in an inferno that occurred at an internally-displaced-persons, IDPs camp in Ngala Local government area of Borno state.

Just a day after, the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC was the next to record a fire outbreak on the 17th of April.

The fire was said to have affected only the office of the Director of Election and Party Monitoring in the building.

The incidents of fire outbreaks in recent weeks have continued to raise questions on how to forestall fire outbreaks in the country.

It is worrisome that most firefighting gadgets and fire fighting vehicles belonging to government are obsolete. Or how can we talk about the fire incident at Dugbe market last week, if not for the intervention of firefighters from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the incident would have wreaked more havoc.

It is so sad that on many occasions, even when fire fighters arrived early to quench outbreak, they would equally complain of lack of water.

It is imperative for governments to provide state of the arts fire service equipment and build more fire service offices in strategic locations in different parts of the country.

Also, continuous training for fire fighters on modern day firefighting techniques should be put in place.

Awareness programs on fire prevention and what to do during fire incidents should be taught at all public places, markets and religious centers.  The existing law on the need to place fire extinguishers at strategic places should be stressed and enforced.

Education through the media on ways to prevent fire outbreaks include putting off appliances when not in use, dangers in overloading of electrical sockets, while people should desist from smoking indoors. Use of phones in kitchens and fueling of generators while in use should be discouraged.

Thunder arrestors should be installed in buildings, while people should employ only the services of qualified electricians as wrong installation could lead to fire outbreak.

To this end, it is pertinent for Nigerians to know that fire destruction is one man’s job while fire prevention is every body’s job.

Olaolu Fawole 

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