THE Holy Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastics states that, there is time for everything. We are gradually getting into the dry season and there are many things associated with the period such as fire incidents and dust-induced ailments like catarrh, conjunctivitis (apollo), tonsillitis, among others.
ALREADY, fire outbreaks have been recorded in public places, residential homes, public offices and industrial places in the past weeks even when harmattan wind is not anywhere near its peak.
ACCORDING to Anambra State Fire Service Chief, MartinAgbili, fire outbreaks are usually man-made and havocs wrecked by the disaster are monumental enough to put individuals, groups and institutions at crossroads of life.
AGBILI, who spoke to our correspondent in an exclusive interview urged the public to endeavour to cut grasses within their court yards and environs to avoid wildfire straying into their houses and other buildings and that people should also learn to switch off electrical appliances completely from the control switch when they are not in use to avoid incidences of power surge that could trigger off fire outbreaks.
HE SAID that another fire preventive measure is ensuring that domestic gas cylinders were stationed outside the kitchen where it can get enough ventilation to avoid explosion, adding that underage children should not also be allowed to have contact with gas cooker in the kitchen. He equally stressed the need for operators of petrol stations to ensure that they have buckets filled with sand and fire extinguishers in place in order to douse any fire incident.
ACCORDING TO Dr Agbili, petrol attendants should not sell petrol to vehicles, motorcycles or tricycles whose ignitions are put out to avoid explosions, adding that fire can be prevented with the right attitudes.
APART from the fire chief’s advice, National Light believes that a simple but consistent approach can go a long way in building a culture resistant to actions that aid fire outbreaks. While we advocate increased sensitisation, it is pertinent to introduce fire awareness and disaster management in school curricular from basic schools to tertiary levels. This will internalise fire security techniques in the people and unconsciously build a population of informed and alert fire fighters.
TO MITIGATE the occurrence at the domestic front, building designs should incorporate elaborate emergency water channels and fire alert systems. Before approval is given for such structures by relevant authorities , such provisions must exist but the relevant agencies should not make the process cumbersome for approval seekers.
BEYOND the certification, it is equally important that public water system be reactivated and effective water channels put in place to connect with all homes. This is because water is vital in fighting fire. The authorities concerned must rise up to the challenge and give citizens what should be theirs as a right.
WHILE the above measures are considered, the traditional fire service stations should be made more effective by equipping them and keeping them battle ready at all times.
NATIONAL Light also believes that decentralisation of fire service stations will help bring them closer to the people and improve their response time to incidents. Suffice it to say that sub units of fire service stations are needed within all districts of the social community. These units should be equipped to tackle emergency fire outbreaks and should initiate backups from the central office when situation gets beyond their abilities.
BEYOND the worry about fire outbreaks, this is time to guard against raising dust and creating situations that lead to diseases like cough, catarrh, dryness of skin and lips , tonsillitis, meningitis, conjunctivitis and other diseases related to unhealthy air and extreme heat. The dry season is time for construction of roads in our clime therefore, running into dust-raising construction sites is common. Such dirty air can cause fear, trigger dangerous situations like asthma or clog the eyes to the level of conjunctivitis.
WHILE people should be careful in road construction sites to avoid physical harm, there is a need to always wear medical face masks when in dusty areas to prevent inhaling dust as it can trigger asthma attack and other diseases already mentioned.
IT’S ALSO necessary for one to be cautious of vents at home because of reptiles and snakes because this is their season.
ALSO ahead of Yuletide, homes and families should protect themselves and society by not engaging in use of fire crackers, even as they should ensure adequate disposal of used match sticks, cigarettes and ensure they service fire extinguishers at home, in vehicles and offices properly in readiness for emergencies.
WHERE diseases or symptoms are witnessed, one should go to hospital. We urge the healthcare sector and fire service men to prepare for rise in cases while calling for enlightenment for all on possible challenges of weather because knowledge is half solution to any issue.