By Christian Jay B. Quilo
Illustrations: Enrico P. Santisas
INCIDENTS of fires ravaging communities in Cebu have been frequent in 2018 — and it’s been only two months since the year started. It’s important to know how to extinguish a fire but it is just as crucial to know what causes it, so know how to prevent one. After all, prevention is better than cure. Read on to know the common causes of fires and you might want to check around your own household and see if there are any red flags.
Any faulty or outdated appliances and electrical devices are fire hazards. If you do notice that an appliance is not functioning properly, err on the side of caution: stop using it and get a new one. Avoid substandard or sketchy-looking electrical devices. The cheap price tag is not worth the risk. Invest in quality appliances. Also, don’t overuse electric fans or aircon units especially in this sweltering season to keep them from overheating.
It’s so easy to confidently leave a cigarette lying on an ashtray or toss a used one into a garbage bin without realizing that there’s a chance that it wasn’t completely out and could ignite a fire. For those who smoke or who have family members who smoke (specifically indoors like the living room or bedroom), make sure the cigarette is completely put out. Use deep ashtrays to make sure the cigarettes are secure and do not fall off.
Not all fires happen by accident. Arsonists are usually fueled by personal motives and have grievance toward their targets. Apart from fire safety equipment, it’s also best to invest in security equipment such as CCTV cameras so that if a crime such as arson does happen, you’ll have a good chance of catching the culprit (granted that the CCTV wasn’t damaged during the fire).
Highly combustible materials such as garbage or coal that are exposed or near external sources of heat such as sunlight are prone to spontaneous ignition. Move inflammable materials to dry and cool spaces.
There’s a valid reason for the ban on firecrackers during the holiday season. Fireworks do add entertainment to festive occasions, but we must not forget that these are still fire hazards. Aside from physical injury, firecrackers can also start a fire.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t take much to knock over a candle. During blackouts, do not ever leave a lit candle unattended. Also, always look after what you’re cooking not just to prevent it from getting overcooked but also to prevent a potential fire, especially if it involves a lot of oil. Double check on the stove if it is off after cooking. Do not ever place sources of open flames such as these two near highly combustible materials such as books or rags.