FILE PHOTO: Federal Fire Service

The Cross River Fire and Rescue Service on Monday tasked Nigerians on fire safety and prevention as the dry season sets in.

Mr Maxwell Odiga, Head, Public Relations Unit of the Service, said it was important for people to be aware that the dry season has set in.

According to Odiga, the dry season is a period when combustion can easily occur if people engage in unsafe practices.

He said the knowledge of safety was quite important in the country, where people pay more attention to security but had no regard for safety which ordinarily should come first.

“You can build a big house with all the appliances and a big bulldog to chase people away at the gate, if you don’t carry out safety practices, everything can be swept away in one day by fire, especially in the dry season.

“Here in Calabar alone, we have had many fire outbreaks in the popular Marian Market which can be attributed to human attitudes such as wilful damage, negligence and ignorance.

“People sell in the stalls in this market but at the end of the day when they should lock their stalls and retire to their homes, many of them live in their stalls, shops and even cook there, with gas cylinders.

“Some go back home leaving electrical appliances in their shops on and whenever there is little sparks or power surge, it leads to fire outbreak,’’ he said.

Odiga, however, said that the service started a campaign early in the year to educate people on fire prevention, adding that it was halted by the #EndSARS protests.

“It is wrong to cook in your kitchen with your gas cylinder in the kitchen, it should be outside.

“Your cell phone should never be in the kitchen while you are cooking, house helps should be properly trained on how to use gas cookers and passing cables under the carpet just to conceal them is a dangerous practice.

“You must also ensure that your containers for buying fuel and kerosene are totally different while pouring petrol into a generator set that is on, should be avoided to prevent any form of explosion and fire outbreak,” he added.

Odiga said that there was nothing wrong with the nation’s policy on firefighting except for implementation and practice, saying that many people are obstinate and deliberately refusing to engage in preventive measures.

He, however, appealed to residents to call the emergency toll free number 112 in the case of fire outbreak.

He added that with such a call, the Federal Road Safety Corps, Police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Fire Service and even the Nigerian Red Cross Society would be contacted to respond immediately.