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House Fires: A Constant Headache

House fire is a sensitive topic that absolutely everyone ought to pay rapt attention to because of the danger it poses and damages it can cause to the lives and properties of those affected. A house fire in simple words is a fire that occurs in a building and leads to the damaging or total burn down of the entire building and its content.

Sadly, house fires have become a rampant and reoccurring event within Lagos state, Nigeria. According to the BusinessDay report, Lagos state recorded 1,898 house fires in 2015. According to the Lagos State Fire Service, 119 were recorded in January of 2019 alone. Although, it is important to note that house fires are not limited to Lagos alone.

What Causes House Fires?

This is usually the first thing that crosses the mind of anyone who hears about a house fire. Everyone’s curiosity is peaked and they want to immediately know what exactly triggered the fire. There are a variety of things that could cause a house fire but the most common causes are:

Electrical Faults

Faulty electrical features can lead to fire sparks if left unattended to. Sockets, switches, bulb holders, wires and many more are electrical features that could bring about a house fire. Electrical appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters, microwaves and more can also be sources of house fires should they develop a fault that is not noticed and fixed in time. House fires caused by electrical faults are usually the hardest to figure out because they are hidden. It is important to ensure that all electrical features and equipment within your household are checked from time to time and anything found faulty should be fixed or replaced immediately.

Chemical Explosion

One would think that chemical explosions only happen at commercial factories but they also happen in homes. Chemicals commonly found in homes are cooking gas, kerosene, cleaning agents, paints, and petrol or diesel if there is a generator available. Fires from chemical explosions occur when these chemicals are exposed to oxygen. They produce heat that eventually ignites a flame after a while. Flammable substances should be kept in a properly sealed container and kept out of the sun.

Candles and Cigarettes

If you are in the habit of using scented candles or smoking cigarettes, then you need to always work in the consciousness of a house fire happening. Candles and cigarettes take a while before they totally burn out so they tend to be forgotten after a while. If they are not properly put out, the fire could still linger around and could spread to other surfaces thereby leading to a house fire. It is important that when using candles and cigarettes, you use stainless steel can to put the remains.

A House Fire has occurred. What Next?

People at the scene of a house fire

The first thing you do once a house fire occurs goes a long way to determine if things will get worse or not. It is natural to panic and be overwhelmed with fear. It’s easier said than done but it is very important to try and maintain a certain level of calmness when such a tragic incident has happened in order to avoid making life-threatening mistakes. You should do the following if a house fire occurs:

  • Exit the building as fast as possible through any means or path available.
  • Find a safe place to stay pending the time firefighters come to put out the fire.
  • Do not attempt to enter into the burning building to recover your material valuables. Your life is more important in all situations.
  • Do not attempt to put out the fire with anything other than water. Using cleaning agents mixed with water does not help to put out the fire.
  • After the fire has been put out, ensure you get a go-ahead from the firefighters before entering into the house to recover any of your possessions that were not destroyed by the fire.
  • Reach out to your insurance company and let them know what has happened.

If you witness a house fire, please go to https://fireservice.lagosstate.gov.ng/ and call any of the numbers on the website for help.

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