The cost of damages caused by fire last year has been estimated at R37,766,050, an increase of R15,589,300 over the cost for the year before which was R22,176,750, according to figures received from the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA).
Last year the SFRSA responded to a total of 314 emergency calls from January 13 to December while in 2020 the agency responded to 301 emergency calls.
The 314 emergency calls break down as follows:
- 40 Structural Fire - Residential & Non-Residential
- 19 Vehicle Fire
- 3 Ship & Boat Fire
- 95 Bush Fire
- 11 Other Fire
- 10 Electrical Installation Fire
- 87 Other Emergency Incident
- 28 Vehicle Accident
- 18 Other assistance
- 3 False Alarm
The 300 emergency calls for the year 2020 break down as follows:
- 35 Structural Fire - Residential & Non-Residential
- 18 Vehicle Fire
- Ship & Boat Fire - Nil
- 54 Bush Fire
- 12 Other Fire
- 9 Electrical Installation Fire
- 109 Other Emergency Incident
- 47 Vehicle Accident
- 14 Other assistance
- 3 False Alarm
The SFRSA noted that the increase in the number of emergencies occurred particularly in structural fires which have increased by five last year and in regards to bush fires, these have seen a significant increase of 41.
“This is a concern for the SFRSA as most of these bush fires were caused by negligence or were lighted deliberately. We are therefore advising the general public to be more careful when lighting fires for the purpose of site clearing to ensure that they have a valid permit and all conditions set on the permits are followed,”Terence Arnephy, acting public relations officer at the SFRSA, has said.
Mr Arnephy went on to note that most of the bush fires lighted deliberately were mostly by young children.
“We therefore wish to bring to the attention of the young people that such acts are very dangerous and may lead to serious injuries or even loss of lives and properties. We are also calling on parents to have more supervision over their children and to always be aware of their whereabouts and what they are up to at all times,” Mr Arnephy has said.
From the total of 40 structural fires last year only 13 houses were completely destroyed while the other incidents were categorised as minor or partially affected.
One major fire which occurred at Le Chantier Mall building towards the end of the year was well put under control whereby 3/4 of the building was saved from damage by the fire.
There was a decrease in the number of road accidents that the SFRSA attended to last year and this was 28 cases compared to 47 cases in 2020.
The SFRSA believes this maybe due to Covid-19 restrictions/curfew whereby there are less traffic movements especially at night.
Advice from the SFRSA
Fire is a great risk in all buildings — whether you sleep, study, or work there, you should always have an escape plan. You may need to escape within a few minutes of a fire starting, so your safe exit depends on immediate warning from smoke alarms and advance planning of escape routes.
Basics of an escape plan
• Include two ways out of every room in all escape plans
• Designate a location to meet outside the building
• Verify that smoke alarms are installed to provide early detection and warning so you’ll have enough time to execute your escape plan
• Make sure doors located in your path of travel can be opened from the inside under all lighting conditions
• Verify that doors located in your path of travel do not require a key to open from the inside
• Take note of whether any disabled or elderly residents will require evacuation assistance
• Conduct a roll call to verify everyone has escaped the building
• Remain outside until notified by the fire department that it is safe to re-enter the building
• Practice, practice, practice your plan!
Providing smoke alarms in houses may be the single most important step toward preventing fire-related casualties in residential buildings.
Smoke alarm basics
• Install at least one smoke alarm in every bedroom
• Install additional smoke alarms in hallways and common areas in the vicinity of bedrooms
• Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home
Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and household fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires most of which start with the ignition of common household items including grease, paper, cabinets and curtains.
Basics cooking safety
• Never leave food unattended while it’s cooking on the stove and closely monitor food cooking in the oven
• Maintain a clean and tidy cooking area that is free of items that catch fire easily such as cloth (curtains, potholders, towels, etc.), paper (cook books, food packaging, newspapers, etc.), and plastic (food packaging, storage containers, etc.)
• Keep children away from cooking areas
Electrical distribution equipment poses serious fire safety threats that can even be fatal, especially when equipment is used incorrectly.
• Protect electrical outlets with plastic safety covers if at children's reach
• Never operate electrical appliances around bathtubs, showers, or puddles of standing water
• Replace or repair frayed, loose, or otherwise damaged cords on all electronics
• Shut off the circuit and have it checked by an electrician if any switches feel warm
• Take note of any discoloured switch plates, because discolouration could indicate that the electrical wiring behind the switch plate is overheating
• Remember: symptoms of potential wiring problems include household lights that dim or flicker, a TV picture that shrinks in size, frequent blown fuses, or circuit breakers that trip frequently
• Don't leave charger on socket when not in use.
Extension cords and surge suppressers
• Never use an extension cord as a replacement for permanent wiring
• Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets
• Make sure power strips and surge suppressors are designed to handle the loads you will be using them for
• Connect power strips and surge protectors directly into a wall outlet. Do not connect multiple power strips or surge protectors together
• Avoid overloading circuits by plugging too many items into the same outlet