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Keeping a tab on fire safety

Fred Wesley
Friday, February 23, 2018

THE National Fire Authority has been proactive in its calls for property owners to be vigilant and take heed of fire safety.

NFA chief fire officer Qionilau Moceitai made a plea after an early morning fire partially damaged a double-storey house at Alexander St in Suva in December last year.

Home owners have always been urged to be mindful of fire safety.

Homeowners, he said at the time, should ensure fire ignition sources such as prayer diya and candles were placed properly on metallic holders and extinguished properly before going to bed or leaving the house, cooking appliances such as gas cylinders were closed properly after cooking, and stove fires and open fire place fires were put out properly.

It is important that power points are not overloaded.

A lack of fire safety measures had caused home fires, he pointed out then, and it was important for homeowners to be mindful of fire safety.

Accidents happen, but they can be prevented though.

Yesterday Shalen Prasad Sharma could not hold back his tears as he sat watching firefighters trying their best to save his three-bedroom house at Delainasole settlement in Nasinu.

Mr Sharma, 48, a bus driver was at work when he received the call about his home. He was emotional as he sat watching the firemen at work.

He had been living at his Delainasole home alone for the past five years.

He said no words could express how he felt.

"I've lost everything I have long worked for and it only took minutes for it to be destroyed," he said, with tears rolling down his cheeks.

"I have been a bus driver all my life, only God knows how much I've worked to build a home like this. Now it's all gone."

Many people will undoubtedly be saddened by the turn of events, however, perhaps we should ask ourselves how much do we really understand about fire safety and are we adhering to safety requirements?

Questions will be asked about how well constructed our homes are, and whether we considered fire safety measures and options during the building process.

These are important issues that need attention.

Sometimes we fail to grasp the impact of complacency until fires destroy our home and leave us devastated.

Homes cost money. There are other factors associated with owning a home that should be considered, from the engineer's certificate, insurance, the repayment of home loans and the cost of furnishing it.

Fires can wipe out our hard work in a matter of hours.

We should ask ourselves whether each member of the family is familiar with fire safety procedures.

We should remind ourselves of the importance of fire safety, and understand and appreciate why we should be vigilant.

Fire safety is everybody's business.

Let's do more than just talk about it.

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