Editorial Comment: Fire safety talk

Fire-fighters attend to a fire in Nadawa. Picture: SUPPLIED/FACEBOOK

So the total cost of damage caused by fires in the past five months is over $10 million! That’s according to Local Government Minister Premila Kumar.

We agree with the minister that it is alarming, especially given the short time frame she points out.

The National Fire Authority, she said, had attended to 44 structural fires from January to May this year.

There were four commercial fires during this period which included the major fire at the flea market in Suva, Gafoor Building in Rakiraki and the 40 residential fires around Fiji.

Active community engagement, she said, was part of strengthening fire awareness and ensuring proactive measures are in place before disasters occur.

“I encourage Fijians to get their homes and business checked once again by a qualified electrician and do install fire alarms.”

Mrs Kumar said the challenges in the field of firefighting also involved building relationships between NFA and the public. We agree the NFA cannot fight fires alone.

There has to be a certain level of participation by us. We must become part of the solution to fight house fires.

We keep talking about safety tips and advice, yet every time a fire destroys a house and leaves families homeless, we rue the mistakes we made and how we failed.

We keep saying that accidents happen because we allow them to. We have the ability to prevent accidents.

That’s where fire safety comes in. It is important that we are proactive. It is important that we adhere to fire safety advice and appreciate safety tips.

As a family, it is in our best interest to ensure every member of the family understands the importance of fire safety.

They must know evacuation plans, and must be aware of hot spots in the home setting. As the minister highlighted, let’s ensure all wirings are checked by qualified electricians for instance.

“It requires the full commitment of all Fijians to keep their homes a safe place to live in,” the minister said.

“I urge all our fellow Fijians to take every precautionary measure to make their homes, workplace, and businesses fire-safe.”

Losing a home can be demoralising, and stressful. It leaves a dent in the pocket, and can leave families financially stressed for a very long time.

That’s when years of hard work goes up in flames. Losing a life hurts and can be emotionally draining.

It leaves a life-time scar on the mind of those impacted.

Our challenge is to embrace advice and be aware.

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