Curtailing Fire Outbreak during Harmattan Season

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The dry season, referred to as the harmattan season, is usually characterized by strong wind, which blows southwest from the Sahara desert into the Gulf of Guinea between October and March.

The weather condition has various health implications on human and animals as it affects the skin, eyes and the respiratory system, it also makes fire outbreak spread easily.

Most times, fire starts from little sources that are likely to be determined such as inappropriate disposal, of cigarette butts, gas leakage and mishandling of electronic equipment.

Another major cause of fire outbreak in Nigeria is bush burning, which also affects crop and livestock production.

In many parts of the country, as farmers prepare for the farming season, they often embark on bush burning and sometimes, this fire goes out of hand.

There are traders, landlords and factory owners who are still grappling with the effects of fire disasters.

For instance in December last year, a fire outbreak caused by the activities of pipeline vandals at Abule-Egba in Lagos State, led to destruction of property worth millions of naira, but no life was lost.

Similarly on January 2nd, 2019, several shops worth millions of naira were destroyed at Wadata market in Benue State.

In a report, Jigawa State Fire Service Directorate, Alhaji Ahmed Danyaro-Gumel, said seven lives and property worth ninety-three million naira were lost to various fire outbreaks in the state from January to December, 2018.

If there is ever a period when anti-fire disaster campaigns should be intensified, it is now, as the slightest negligence could lead to fire outbreak

It has now become pertinent for the National Emergency Management Agency and Fire Service across the country to mount up campaigns on the devastating effects of fire disasters as well as preventive measures.

Moreover, people should be sensitized on the importance of insurance, while insurance companies themselves should make their policies on fire more attractive to citizens.

Hydrants and fire extinguishers should be installed around fire prone areas such as industrial estates, commercial institutions, armouries, factories and fuel depots.

People should also desist from gathering at fire scenes so as not to prevent fire fighters from performing their duties.

For ease of access, government should ensure that fire extinguishers and fire alarms are sold at affordable prices.

Also, people should abstain from keeping explosive items, as well as highly inflammable materials at home or in their shops.

It is also pertinent for members of the public to unplug all electronic appliances or better still, switch off all electrical control panels before leaving their homes or offices to guard against power surges that can lead to fire outbreaks.

Firefighting equipment should be upgraded to meet international best practice in firefighting, while relevant government agencies should look into citing of petrol station indiscriminately around residential areas.

It is also imperative for people to avoid overloading electrical sockets or outlets to prevent fire outbreak.

Lastly, government at all levels should encourage media stations to carry out campaigns aimed at sensitizing the public on the precautionary measures in forestalling and managing fire outbreaks.

Antonia Akanji

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