Fires continue to cause enormous damage and result in huge costs despite the all preventive measures taken by authorities and individuals. Damage to buildings and vehicles account for the major part of this cost.
“The number of fire cases reported for the first half of the year 2017 is almost similar to that of last year.” Jones Madeleine, the Public Relations Officer at the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Service Agency (SFRSA), told TODAY when making available statistics about fire incidents for the year up to end of June.
Since the beginning of this year until June the SFRSA has received a total of 235 emergency calls. These include fire incidents, accidents, other emergency incidents and assistance. Among these five cases were false alarms.
In total, thirty five calls of fire incidents in buildings were reported and among these cases fifteen buildings were completely destroyed by the fire. The rest represents cases of fire in fuse boxs, fryers, saucepans, gas cooker setc. Not all of them were severe. But however, they are still classified as ‘fire in building’. “Even in these cases we will deploy three fire engines because the initial call we get is to request for service due to fire in a building,” explained Mr. Madeleine.
“We deploy our fire trucks according to our operating procedures. For instance, in cases of fire in a building we deploy three vehicles, in industrial areas the possibility is four vehicles, fire in a vehicle and accidents we send one vehicle and in cases of chemical incidents two vehicles.”
Mr. Madeleine claimed that most cases of fire incidents they receive are fuse box fires, a maintenance workshop, electrical wires in ceilings, washing machines and in the kitchen. He added that they do get quite a number of electrical incidents and also fire started by saucepans in the kitchen. “In cases that the buildings have been completely burned it is most likely that the fire has propagated quickly. Upon completing the investigation it can be established where the fire started. Then we can look for evidence to find out the cause of the fire in that specific area,” he said.
However, Mr. Madeleine declared that even if they are not getting many cases of fire recently two serious incidents in the month of July have been reported, one in the industrial estate at Providence and the other on North Island.
Only one fire incident so far has resulted in death. But the person died in hospital as a result of getting burned during the fire.
During the first six months of year 2017 thirteen incidents of fire in vehicles were reported, thirty six for rubbish and bush fire. Fourteen cases were linked to other fire incidents. No incident for ship and boat fire has been reported so far.
When fire incidents occur, the SFRSA estimates the cost of damage based on the things that were damaged in the fire. Altogether, some SCR 9,220,250 worth of damage was caused by the 122 cases the SFRSA attended to in the first quarter of the year. For the second quarter of the year even if less cases were reported 113 cases less, the estimated cost of damage was SCR 12,455,975.
To sensitise members of the public on prevention measures, Mr. Madeleine said that they are taking publicity spots on television. The SFRSA is also organising talks to cover all districts on the island. “We will start first with the Anse Etoile district as more fire incidents have been reported from the district. We are planning to do that in August,” he declared.
Since there are 23 districts altogether on Mahé, Mr. Madeleine said that they are planning on conducting the talks by region to cover several districts at the same time. “We need to ensure that we get an audience for the talks. We are planning to bring in people who have been victims of fire incidents to share their experiences so that it can serve as a wakeup call for others. Thus they become more aware of the precautions they need to take to prevent fire incidents.” He said that people are not responding positively to their appeals and this is why they keep on having cases of fire which could have been avoided.
Mr. Madeleine also revealed that the SFRSA has plans to conduct practical sessions on fire prevention, like the one held recently on Praslin, to showcase the different ways that people can tackle fires.