The Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) has warned citizens to be on guard against house fires, noting that there’s usually an upsurge during the holiday season.
“The development of fires as a consequence of cooking remains the leading cause of home fires, followed by fires involving the use or misuse of electricity,” observed SLFS Divisional Officer David Antoine.
He disclosed that the fire service has responded to 711 fires this year.
Ninety-eight of the fires were structural, while twenty-nine were electrical.
Regarding fires that occur when people are cooking, Antoine urged the public to take reasonable measures to reduce vulnerability.
He advised them not to leave pots unattended or in the care of children.
The senior SLFS official said stove tops should be clear of towels and other combustible material.
Antoine also warned against pouring water on fires involving oils or fats or attempting to pick up a pot that is on fire.
He said the homeowner could turn off the fire and smother the pot with a suitable lid in the latter’s case.
He urged citizens to ensure that electrical wiring in their homes is safe and subject to inspection every four or five years.
“Limit the use of extension cords and electrical adaptors as they may become overheated and cause a fire,” Antoine said.
He also warned against overloading outlets.
“Plug only one device per outlet unless the load can be verified,” Antoine stated.
And he advised against using defective devices, especially fans and air conditioning units.
“They are the leading cause of house fires,” Antoine disclosed.
In addition, he noted that some lights are only for indoor use and should be verified before outdoor usage.
The SLFS official called on citizens to carefully select and install Christmas lights to avoid fires.