Houses, vehicles account for most fire mishaps

Muscat, August 21 – Residences and vehicles have been the most vulnerable to accidental fires in the country over the past three years, as per the official figures. Around 29 per cent (1,335) of the total fire cases (4,602) reported in 2018 were from houses. In 2017, it was 26 per cent (1,234) from 4,742 cases while in 2016 it was 26.5 per cent (1,100) from 4,157 cases, said National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). Around 19 per cent (883) of the total fire cases (4,602) reported in 2018 were from vehicles used for transportation. In 2017, it was 19 per cent (901) from 4,742 cases while in 2016 it was 19.5 per cent (817) from 4,157 cases.

The majority of fire-related cases were reported from Muscat (1,398) in 2018. In previous years it was 1,296 in 2017 and 1,204 in 2016. The capital was followed by North Batinah with 1,101 cases in 2018, 1,301 in 2017 and 1,124 in 2016. After housing facilities and transportation sectors, the agriculture sector too was vulnerable to fire-related cases with (12.3) per cent. According to Royal Oman Police (ROP) most fire cases reported at homes are due to poor quality of cables, wires and counterfeit devices. The Public Authority for Civil Defence (PACDA) recommended the installation of smoke detectors and approved gas connections to ensure the safety of the lives and property.

Care must be taken when using electrical appliances, cooking gas and other home appliances. According to PACDA, the main cause of the fire cases has been tendency to avoid periodical maintenance of vehicles. As the temperature rise, motorists should pay more attention to their vehicles and reduce speed to avoid any untoward incidents, he said. “Rising temperature has a negative impact on the performance of the vehicle in different ways. This can not only do damage to the vehicle, but also cause accidents.

Some of the other safety measures are turning off the engine and mobile phones when refuelling, keeping fire extinguishers, using only original spare parts — especially radiators — and getting vehicles repaired only at licensed workshops,” it said. In case the vehicle catches fire, stop immediately. Evacuate passengers and try dousing the fire using an extinguisher. Disconnect the battery if possible to prevent further damage.