By Ifeanyi Okonkwo
As the peak of the dry season sets in and with Christmas in the air, the Director and Fire Chief of the Anambra State Fire Service, Engr. Martin Onyedikachukwu Agbili has called on residents of Anambra State to beware of bushfires, cooking gas, camp gas, petroleum products and other combustibles to prevent fire outbreaks.
Agbili stated that the dry season was more prone to fire outbreaks and there was need for people to ensure that they were more fire safety conscious by ensuring that they have fire safety gadgets around their homes, offices and other places for first aid response.
Agbili who disclosed the safety measures emphasized that the state fire service was ever ready to fight fire wherever it occurred but the citizens according to him, should notify the agency on time to enable them get to the fire scene to extinguish it.
He said, ” What happens sometimes is that people don’t call fire service on time and they would expect alot from Anambra State Fire Service but that notwithstanding, we will continue to give our best to Ndi-Anambra.
This is dry season we are entering. Alot of things are in expectation especially fire. Dry season is the period we have the highest fire incidents all over the world. In recent weeks, there have been incessant fire outbreaks in the country.
“The most recent is the one that happened in River state where a lot was damaged. It also happened in Lagos, Anambra, Adamawa and other parts of the country.
“We always tell people that whenever it comes to dry season, the first thing to do is to check your surroundings against bushfire because the major fire outbreaks we will be having this dry season is bushfire.”
Agbili therefore advised that people should cut the grasses or bushes closer to their homes, churches, markets and offices as bushfires spread faster to buildings through bushes.
He said another thing responsible for incessant fire incidents in the dry season is cooking gas. The chief fire officer said even though cooking gas was becoming more expensive, people still prefer to use it even in the villages with total disregard for kerosene and firewoods.
Agbili maintained that the state fire service always admonished people to ensure that the cylinders of their gas are outside the kitchen, stressing that when people go out and return, the first thing they should do is to rush to the kitchen and open the windows and leave it for about 20 minutes.
He explained that the essence of opening the kitchen windows was to ensure that any leakage from the gas cylinder diffused into the air to make the environment safe again for cooking.
Another problematic issue the fire chief mentioned was the use of camp gas at home. He said camp gas was designed for outdoor cooking but people now erroneously use them to cook at home which he said was dangerous because it could easily have leakage from the burner and lead to explosions.
Agbili equally advised that children should be prevented from going close to the burner and that the essence of having gas cylinders outside the kitchen was to switch it off after use to avoid fire incidents as a result of children’s negligent attitudes in the kitchen.
The Director of the state fire service further disclosed that another factor responsible for fire outbreaks was power surge.
He however advised all those who maybe traveling for the Christmas and New Year festivities to ensure that they switch off all electrical appliances at home to avoid power eruptions that could cause fire incidents.