The General Directorate of Civil Defence (GDCD) at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has issued an advisory on how to ensure fire safety during summer.
The initiative aims to raise and spread awareness among the public on the ways of preventing fire accidents that may occur in the hot summer months, according to a statement from the Ministry of Interior.
The tips pertain to safety at home, safety of commercial establishments, vehicle safety and general safety.
* Safety at home
When leaving the house for a long time, one should ensure that the cooking gas cylinder is turned off, all electrical appliances are switched off and windows and doors are closed tightly. “Close faucets and open some sources of ventilation to protect the walls of the house from cracking, especially during the summer,” the advisory states.
Continuous maintenance should be carried on important equipment and devices at home, especially in the kitchen, including gas cylinders, electrical wires, air-conditioners and others, in order to avoid a fire breakout.
As the misuse of gas cylinders may risk one’s life as well as the lives of people dearest to him/her, a cylinder should in a safe place - away from the sun and beyond the reach of children. “Don’t allow them (children) to enter the kitchen without supervision and don’t allow them to approach the sources of danger inside or outside the house with lighters, insecticides and toxic detergents,” the GDCD has said.
Further, the advisory says that when one smell gas odour, s/he should immediately open all doors and windows to reduce the concentration of leaked gas. Also, the person should never use a burning matchstick near a gas cylinder to locate the spot of leakage. In addition, people should avoid switching on the exhaust fan for ventilation; also, they should not switch on lights as they may serve as points of ignition for the highly inflammable gas.
“When a fire breaks out in the oil pan, please avoid pouring water into the pan as it ignites the fire. Cover the burning pan by placing the nearest thick lid on it or cover it with a fire blanket,” the advisory continues. “When a fire breaks out in the trash bin, please cover the burning trash bin immediately with a damp cloth in order to prevent oxygen from igniting the fire.”
People have also been asked not to put on flowing dresses or nylon mixed wear in the kitchen in addition to ensuring the cleanliness of exhaust fans. “Providing a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in the kitchen will help us prevent minor fire breakouts from the beginning,” the GDCD notes. “Place gas cylinder in a safe place away from burners. Don’t store inflammable items in the kitchen as they will ignite quickly with heat.”
Finally, different types of items should be stored properly - and in a safe place - in order to prevent them from falling on people.
* Safety of commercial establishments
“Make sure to provide necessary safety and firefighting equipment and devices in commercial and industrial establishments and be keen to conduct evacuation exercises in institutions,” the GDCD has said with relation to the safety of commercial establishments.
People should also ensure that there are no obstructions in the corridors and emergency exits that may impede the movement of workers and endanger their lives when a fire breaks out.
“Be sure to follow proper storage rules and do maintenance of equipment, devices and operating units on a regular basis. Please keep on removing the waste from the beginning,” the advisory states. “Provide enough natural or mechanical ventilation for the exits.”
Periodic maintenance of the establishment should also be carried out.
* Vehicle safety
People should check their vehicle on a daily basis before starting a journey and avoid all factors that may help ignite a fire in the vehicle, especially during the summer. They should keep a usable fire extinguisher in the vehicle within the reach of their hands, the advisory points out.
“Don’t overload the vehicle beyond its capacity and stop frequently if you drive the vehicle for a long distance,” the GDCD points out, adding that people should please ensure that there is enough coolant in the radiator before beginning a journey.
“Carry out periodic checkups of your vehicle by a specialised technician before you start a long trip,” it adds.
Motorists have also been reminded of the need to switch of the engine and mobile and avoid smoking while refuelling.
* General safety tips
People have been advised to always keep their address details with them, including the building number, street number and zone number, as this will help emergency service providers to reach them quickly in order to save their lives.
“When a fire breaks out, keep away from the source of heat and fire, evacuate the place immediately and call the emergency number – 999,” the advisory has stressed. “Provide a fire extinguisher, fire blanket and first aid kit, etc. Make sure to teach everyone who works or lives with you how to use each of these properly.”
Further, the GDCD has advised people to “connect with early warning and automatic fire extinguisher systems in buildings, namely smoke, heat and gas detectors”.
In conclusion, the advisory asks people not to overload electrical connections “by using a number of devices on a single transformer” as well as to avoid the use of low-quality electrical tools, whether in connections or transformers.
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