Residential units most vulnerable to fire accidents: Report

Muscat: Residential units and vehicles have been the most vulnerable to accidental fires in the country over the past three years, as per official figures.
Around 29 per cent (1,335) of the total fire-cases (4,602) reported in 2018 were from housing facilities.

In 2017, it was 26 percent (1,234) from 4,742 cases while in 2016 it was 26.5 percent (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, which saw also an increase from previous years 1,296 in 2017 and 1,204 in 2016.
The capital was followed by North Batinah with 1,101 cases in 2018, which also saw a decline from 1,301 in 2017 and 1,124 in 2016.
After housing facilities and transportation, the agriculture sector was vulnerable to fire-related cases with (12.3) per cent.

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House fires:

According to Royal Oman Police (ROP),  most of the fire cases reported at homes are due to poor quality of cables, wires and counterfeit devices.

Residential fires are due to the use of electrical appliances and other devices at homes on a daily basis, according to Public Authority for Civil Defence (PACDA) who also recommended the installation of smoke detectors and approved gas connections to ensure the safety of the human lives and personal property.

Care must be taken when using electrical appliances, cooking gas and other home appliances to avoid any risks to life and property.

  • The causes of fire accidents in residential facilities are attributed to negligence, lack of care and caution when dealing with electrical appliances, cooking gas and others.
    People are urged to follow safety guidelines:
  • Switch off the gas cylinder after finishing cooking and or before leaving the house.
  • Ensure the maintenance of devices and do not leave the mobile phone connected to the charger for long periods.
  • Acquisition of a multi-purpose fire extinguisher.
  • Do not pour water on the burning oil, but try to cover the pan with a copper pot.
  • Try to close the main source of electricity and gas if possible and leave the house as soon as possible in case of a fire.
  • Do not put obstacles in front of the exit points and corridors.
  • Ensure that all members of the family and the assembly are out of danger of fire and smoke.

Vehicle fires:

According to PACDA. the main cause of the fire cases has been neglecting periodical maintenance of vehicles. As the temperature rise, motorists should pay more attention to their vehicles and reduce speed to avoid any untoward incidents. “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 spread.

The radiator is an important part that reduces the temperature at the engine parts, thus protecting it from being damaged and corroded.

“Therefore, water in the radiator should be changed before summer and preferably get it cleaned at the time of periodic maintenance of the vehicle to avoid clogging of the joints and thus increasing the temperature of the engine of the vehicle,” he said. He also pointed out that the tyres should be replaced with new ones in accordance with technical specifications.

This will ensure safety from the friction of the edges of tyres and erosion.

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