Fire brigade offers fire safety tips ahead of the Christmas season
The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is urging Jamaicans to exercise caution during the festive season to prevent fires.
Acting Assistant Commissioner and Public Relations Officer, Emeleo Ebanks, said cooking should not be left unattended, and persons should ensure that curtains or kitchen towels are not near to the flames.
“If the stove goes out, ensure that there is no lingering gas in the air before you try to restart the burner,” he told JIS News.
He advises that if gas is smelt, persons should ventilate the room for five to 10 minutes before relighting the stove. He explained that trying to reignite a stove, flipping a switch or plugging in an electrical appliance can cause a spark, which could result in a fire.
Ebanks said all homes should be equipped with smoke detectors in each room, and a heat detector in the kitchen. He said these devices are affordable, and should be maintained with full batteries.
Around the home, additional precautions can be taken for the safety of all occupants.
“Do not plug more than three Christmas lights into one socket. While the lights allow you to plug additional lights… at the end, remember that it is still one socket that they are going into,” Ebanks pointed out.
He further advises householders “to ensure that extension cords can be seen from the point of origin. Do not hide them under the carpet or behind furniture because they are not aesthetically pleasing. This will chafe the wires and wear away the insulation of the cords, which can lead to fires.
“If the third prong from your plugs comes loose, do not try to repair (them). At this point, you must replace the appliance or extension cord,” he added.
The third prong serves as a ground connection to redirect electrical surges from the appliance, thus protecting it and the user from electrical damage and injury.
Ebanks said houses should be checked by a licensed and certified electrician.
“If your house was wired and passed more than five years ago, a lot of things have changed in that time. We live in the tropics and over time the heat will start to breakdown the insulation on wires, which is meant to protect them and prevent them from touching,” he pointed out.
As it relates to children, Ebanks said in addition to ensuring that they are monitored, parents or guardians should take the time to explain the dangers of fires to them as part of the safety and prevention process.
The senior JFB officer said the family should establish an emergency meeting point that is known to all members, and ensure that they know the telephone numbers of the nearest fire station.
Persons seeking additional information about how to make their homes safer this holiday season can contact any fire station across the island.