Critical, hands-on fire safety tips from the ‘Garden Parish’
File photo of a fire in spate.
The St Ann Fire Department has made a hand-on outline of the need for Jamaicans in general to practise fire safety measures this Christmas season and beyond.
Deputy Superintendent in charge of the department, Anthony Hinds, spoke at Thursday’s meeting of the St Ann Municipal Corporation, and said the fire brigade has categorised the Christmas period as the “silly season”.
He said, “It is the time of the year when we normally put up a lot of decorative lights. We are encouraging individuals not to overload their electrical circuits, and not leave these decorative lights on while they are out of the house,” because the lights can lead to fires.
The nice but potentially dangerous Christmas lighting.
Hinds urged family members who may be engaged in cooking activities, to leave the young children out of the kitchen.
He also appealed to persons not to leave electrical appliances on when leaving their homes.
“We (the fire department) are also encouraging adults that if you are going to leave your minors at home, leave them with other adults. Don’t leave the children alone. We have records to show that when a fire took (here) place several years ago, smaller children were consumed,” he warned.
For security purposes, Hinds also appealed to citizens to practise what he termed as good “key management”.
He urged householders to “make sure keys are labeled and stored properly, so in case of an emergency and you need to come out (of the house), you can quickly find that key and you can come out safe.”
Motor vehicle crashes, which are sometimes attributable to driving while intoxicated, is something to try and avoid over the festive season.
Meanwhile, he gave the usual appeal to drivers, especially at this time of the year, not to drink and drive.
Hinds also encouraged business owners and their employees to develop what he termed as a “shut down check list”.
He said the trend at this time of the year is for business operators and their employees to work long hours, and due to this, they may leave electrical appliances, such as air-condition units and fans, on when leaving work. This, he said, can result in outbreaks of fires.
Hinds said a particular individual can be assigned to do a checklist to ensure that all appliances are turned off before leaving work.
In the meantime, for the month of November, the St Ann fire department reported responded to 31 calls of fire, which compared to 45 such calls in October.
There were 17 genuine fires last month. Of this number, there were four residential fires, three commercial blazes, and three bush-related fires within the parish.