Fire Safety: Causes And Results

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Fire occurs due to a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and a source of fuel for instance wood and gasoline don’t spontaneously catch on fire just because they’re surrounded by oxygen and for the combustion reaction to happen, the fuel has to be heated to its ignition temperature. Recently in Fiji there are about one confirmed fire case per week which has resulted in the loss of lives and properties and no amount of insurance and compensation can be enough to be compared with a life. The residential fires were the highest recorded in 2019 compared to the other types and the trend continues this year also In order to reduce the chances of fire occurring fire safety must be practiced by everyone. Fire safety is a set of practices intended to reduce the destruction caused by fire. It is important to be aware of the dangers and potential causes of electrical fires in order to learn how to avoid them. It is very common in Fiji whereby people choose cheap unlicensed electricians to do any electrical works or wiring for their home and this is why electrical fires occur. The people of Fiji should only hire or pay licensed electricians to do the job. This essay shall hence discuss the major causes of electrical fires in the country together with their recommended solutions.

To begin with, most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets or worn out sockets that are not properly grounded. As outlets and switches get older, the wiring behind them wears as well, and wires are strung about that loosen overtime and could potentially break and cause a fire. Therefore an appliance with a worn or frayed cord must never be used as this may send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs hence starting a fire.

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In addition, outdated electrical wiring is another cause of electrical fires. This is evident as for instance if a home is over two decades old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances in today’s average home, such as computers, wide-screen televisions, video players, microwaves and air conditioners. The outdated home wiring cannot handle the increased power load. Older wiring tends to heat up quickly and catches fire.

Furthermore, unrestricted use of extension cords is a major fire hazard. For instance when the TV, home theatre, computer and other appliances are all plugged into a single extension cord, it creates excessive power load on a single socket which may not be designed to handle that load. This means the circuit is overloaded, and your home is at serious risk of an electric fire. Appliances should be plugged directly into outlet and not plugged into an extension cord for any length of time. Only use extension cords as a temporary measure. If you do not have the appropriate type of outlets for your appliances, hire an electrician to install new ones. Therefore it is important to make a conscious effort to never overload your outlets.

Moreover, old appliances that have frayed cords or loose or faulty wiring is another cause of fire. This is evident due to the high flammability of old insulation used in these appliances, a simple electrical repair to address these issues may not be enough. Therefore it’s best to purchase updated appliances to ensure your safety as having older appliances risks the possibility that they may not be up to standard when it comes to wattage usage, material quality, and safety regulations. Stoves, toasters, fridges, all the things you can find in your kitchen are at risk for potentially starting electrical fires.

In a nutshell, fire safety is of great importance as many lives have been lost due to it. Therefore it is very essential that we take precautionary measures which will not cause a fire in the first place. It is suggested and recommended to the taskforce that loose outlets are repaired or replaced as soon as you notice them. Hence tighten the wire nuts to improve the connection, or you may need to replace the outlet.​ Call a qualified electrician who can replace old wiring with a new wiring system in accordance to the national electrical code. Choose heavy-duty extension cords for every application. Lay the cord out of the way where no one will step on it. Don’t run cords under floor rugs, which could generate excessive heat. Never permanently rely on extension cords. Hence if you do not have enough outlets, have an electrician install more of them. Pay attention to your appliances by checking cords for excessive heat or exposed wires. If a device makes strange noises or operates improperly, do not wait until the cord catches on fire repair or replace it immediately. Purchase appliances that use quality materials, and follow approved safety standards.


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