Air Conditioner Fires, Unattended Cooking – FCT Controller

Most fires in homes and offices nationwide, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), are caused by split air conditioners and unattended kitchens, the LEADERSHIP Sunday survey found.

Acting Comptroller of Fire Department, FCT Command, Engr Sani Saidu said that among these two leading causes of fires in public and residential buildings, split air conditioners account for 85 percent of fires.

Engineer Saidu warned that without regular maintenance and proper maintenance, air conditioners can end up causing a fatal fire.

The comptroller who spoke through command spokesman Ibrahim Muhammad Tauheed said most air conditioner fires are caused by unstable power supply and substandard cables.

While noting that air conditioner fires are more common in Nigeria than previously thought, Saidu said fires are often caused by a short circuit in the wiring which results in the unit overheating.

It is even as he said that frequent power surges or voltage fluctuations that the air conditioner receives can also overheat the unit.

He also listed hoarding gasoline in unattended homes and kitchens as causes of fires, adding that stoves, clothes dryers, heaters, computers, fans, candles, holiday decorations , smoking, lightning, children, chemicals and gases, and other electrical systems and appliances are potential causes of house fires.

He particularly blamed the “God forbid mentality” where some people forget that the churches and mosques where the faith they proclaim are domiciled have recorded several fires.

Saidu reminded Nigerians that during the Christmas holiday, fires are one of the common calamities during the year. This, he says, is the result of the harmattan which is associated with drought and wind.

“This mainly occurs from November to March, when many fires are recorded because there is a dry wind which facilitates the spread of the fire at the slightest ignition. Fires are also believed to occur occasionally as a result of explosions mainly caused by trucks loaded with fuel,” he said.

To this end, the interim controller has undertaken to ensure the strict application of the development control rules governing the development of buildings against fire outbreaks.

While explaining that the service’s FCT Command has lined up activities to curb the incessant fires, Engr Saidu who stressed the importance of fire safety compliances, warned that living in a house without fire extinguishers, detectors smoke, emergency exits, warning signs and designated muster fire points should no longer be an option.

To curb the unrelenting fires in the nation’s capital, Engineer Saidu said men from the command’s prevention and enforcement units never gave up in pursuit of strict adherence to the fire safety code. He said they have even started training key people in ministries, departments and agencies, supermarkets and schools on how to use the installed fire defense equipment.

“Our men have also trained selected people from the FCT call center, permanent secretariat, Servicom as well as hospitals and many other management bodies,” he said.

He said the command had, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Abuja, trained a few schools and intended to train many more in their bid to curb the fires.

He said; “Our men go to residential areas, especially housing estates, because they already have a single administration that makes it easy for residents to comply with fire safety guidelines. We check their fire defense equipment to make sure their emergency exit routes are properly channeled. We also check the compartmentalization of their stores to ensure that it will not interfere with the evacuation of occupants in the event of an emergency,” he added.

Karl M. Bailey