Don’t leave kids in car: PACDA

MUSCAT: The combination of summer and COVID-19 has the officials from Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances (PACDA) urging the parents to take special care of not leaving children alone in the vehicles when they step out to shop.

The summer also sees yet another product that has become part of lifestyle – hand sanitiser, which many feel should not be left behind in the vehicles as it may be a potential fire hazard.

Speaking to the Observer a PACDA official said, “As it is not encouraged for children to visit shops the parents have been opting to leave children in the vehicle as they shop.  In addition to the increase in temperature there are special concerns on children playing with inflammable gadgets and toys.  Children are safest at home with other family members.”

The summer months bring in an increase in the number of vehicle fire accidents in most of the governorates.

When asked about the major causes of vehicle fire accidents the PACDA official pointed out that there are many reasons but they are mainly to do with lack of vehicle maintenance.  During the pandemic however until this week garages were closed and slowly getting back into operation in other parts of Oman, while the workshops in Wadi Kabir remain closed.

“To avoid vehicle fire mishaps especially during summer is to pay attention to water coolant, electrical wires of the vehicle,” PACDA official said.

He noted, “Some car owners fit extra accessories in their vehicles, which is not officially approved.  The other major concern is smoking in the car.  Inflammable products such as perfumes and lighters should not be left in the automobiles.  Children playing with these products can be dangerous and even prove fatal for children,” he added.

The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances on Thursday announced that there have been 769 vehicle fire accidents in 2019. At the same time road traffic accidents last year saw 71 fewer cases compared to the year 2018.

If an incident occurs, the driver or the passengers should go into an immediate intervention within five minutes ensuring they are safe, advised the PACDA expert adding, “It should be noted that they should not endanger themselves in the process.  The fire starts in a small way so the best thing is to extinguish it immediately, without putting themselves in danger.  If no intervention happens then, within five minutes it could prove fatal.

The driver should move the vehicle to the side and park and remove anything inflammable.  They should try to douse it by using the hand fire extinguisher that is available in the car.  If the situation is something they cannot control then they can call 9999 or 24343666.”