Fire safety

Willard Miller, Suva | Friday, August 11, 2017
THE "Night of terror" editorial (FT August 8) asked readers to learn from last Sunday's tragic fire and can only help spread awareness of fire safety issues.

But news about fires usually ends with a National Fire Authority statement that investigation into the cause continues and after a few condolences from horrified readers it's end of story until the next tragic fire.

This time a letter from Frank Eggers (FT August 9) offered a beneficial suggestion about burglar bar regulation and Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa's statement that "Government should look at tax exemptions for all fire safety equipment" (FT August 9) is an idea that ought to be embraced by politicians of all stripes.

The Fiji Times reporters may not be at liberty to speculate about the cause of fires that are under investigation, but should make a point of always asking what fire safety measures were in place before the fire broke out.

Had someone on the premises given any forethought to fire safety?

Were there functioning smoke detectors or fire extinguishers present?

These should always be reported in the newspaper.

What can be learned from the most recent fire should have been learned decades ago when people began covering windows and doors with burglar bars. There must be an easy means of escape in case of fire.

The National Fire Authority has expertise to determine what means of escape is necessary and NFA inspection should be required for all fire insurance.

Likewise all landlords should be required to have their property inspected by the NFA for the safety of tenants.

For dwellings neither insured nor rented, perhaps a general higher level of fire safety awareness can make a life saving difference.

A small escape hatch at ground level on an outside wall secured from inside with simple sliding bolts is easy and cheap to fabricate and might have saved lives last Sunday.

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