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How to avoid deaths caused by gas, electronic appliances

courtsey photo of school caught by fire

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | At least 2017 fire emergencies were handled by the Directorate of Fire and Rescue Services under the Uganda Police Force-UPF. The Director Fire and Rescue Services, Assistant Inspector General of Police-AIGP, Joseph Mugisa, says the fires were majorly caused by home appliances that use gas, electricity, fuel or charcoal.

He however, says most of the fire incidents that have caused deaths or left scores nursing wounds were a result of negligence. “At least 187 incidents resulted from negligence in 2019. This was followed by charcoal stoves/candle wax with 170 incidents, electrical short circuit with 91 incidents while electrical appliances left unattended to registered 87 incidents,” Mugisha says.

Herbert Kanyali, an independent Safety and Health Consultant, says there are many appliances in homes that could turn out to be very deadly explosives. Some of these home tools and implements are a time bomb, according to Kanyali. He cited Liquefied Petroleum Gas-LPG powered appliances like gas cookers, oven stoves, micro wave and pressure cooker.

In order to avoid deaths or injuries emanating from home appliances, Kanyali calls for regular inspection or observation since in most cases there are tale signs that could be a warning button for looming danger. This can be seen physically or observed in the case of a gas cooker where the gas odour may be smelt in the building.

“There should always be periodic inspection or checks on the appliances and cables or electric cords for any cuts, frays and any such faulty cables should either be replaced or the entire gadget disposed of and a new one purchased,” Kanyali said.

According to Kanyali, restricting usage of some gas or electric appliances by children in the absence of their parents could help to minimize fatalities or injuries. “Such gadgets should not be used by children below 14 years without the supervision of an adult in order to avoid disastrous consequences. Secondly always ensure that before some of the gadgets are used by young adults or even maids that they are properly trained,” Kanyali adds.

He says many people using gas or powered appliances do not know what to do when they smell gas inside or near homes. They rush to switch on lights something that sparks fire thus killing or injuring occupants critically.

“When you smell gas, first switch off the gas nobs then open all doors and windows so that the gas can escape through the ventilations to the exterior. No lighting of any kind should be done until a point when one cannot smell the gas odour,” Kanyali warns.

He says all items that use fuel like petroleum should never be put near a fire source including electrical switches. Additional, both Kanyali and police people must endeavor to have firefighting equipment but also make sure people at home know how to use them.

Mugisha says fire related to electronic, gas or charcoal implements have caused 78 deaths, left 92 people nursing severe wounds in addition to destroying property valued at millions of Shilling between 2018 and 2019.

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