Editorial comment – Fire safety important

The charred remains of the single unit dormitory at ACS. Picture: ROHIT DEO

THERE is a familiar ring to the issue of fire safety campaigns.

Talk or attention focuses on safety issues, safety tips and the key message that points at being proactive.

We are reminded to be aware of danger spots and signs of danger. Campaigns advocate proactive action and what to do in the event of a fire.

You’d obviously be forgiven for that sense of monotony, or repetitive action.

That’s to be expected though.

There is a reason for that.

Safety campaigns are important.

They offer many critical lessons for us to appreciate and learn from.

The question though is do we truly appreciate the need to embrace safety rules?

Do we truly understand the importance of fire safety?

If not, then that is a major concern.

Just the other day, on Monday this week, 10 firefighters worked hard to prevent a fire from completely engulfing a restaurant and nearby premises at the Port of Suva.

Security officer at the restaurant Semisi Matakibau claimed the fire started from a grill in the kitchen and broke out into the restaurant at 10am.

Metuisela Ledua, who was among the few people who witnessed the fire, said they were heading back to the port when they saw the premises covered in smoke.

He said none of them knew how the fire started, but they were thankful to be alive.

At Sawani in Naitasiri, measures were quickly put in place by the Education Ministry for Adi Cakobau School students whose dormitory was destroyed in a fire on Monday morning.

In a statement issued later that day, the Government confirmed the fire at the “Q Dorm” in the all-girls school started around 8am.

Education Minister Rosy Akbar visited the school soon after the fire was contained and expressed relief that neither students nor teachers were injured in the incident.

However, the belongings of 17 students were destroyed in the fire. Let’s consider these fires as reminders for us all.

Perhaps families can take time out to ensure every member of the household is aware of action to take in the event of structural fires for starters.

Let’s be aware of potential fire hazards and ensure these are taken care of.

Let’s get our children involved and to be part of fire safety discussions. Let’s take ownership of fire safety in our own homes.

Accidents happen.

They can be prevented though.

That is where awareness campaigns come in.

The message of fire safety should never be shrugged aside.

But when all things are considered, it is true that life-saving acts make great stories.

The best story though would have to be one of preparedness where structural fires don’t happen at all.

That is our challenge daily.

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