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Dec 22, 2009

Fire Department gives safety tips for the Christmas season

Story PictureThere is more than the usual consumption of electricity and butane gas at Christmastime and that comes with its own risk. At home leaking gas tanks, over-loaded outlets and the occasional cooking accidents make the perfect recipe for disaster. But to mitigate some of that, members of the Fire Department are on an awareness campaign. Assistant Fire Chief, Ted Smith, says the brochures they are handing out in downtown Belize City will help families to reduce the risk of house fires for the holidays. And the list of do’s and don’ts is a lengthy one.

Ted Smith, Assistant Fire Chief
“If you’re gonna be using your outlets for prolonged periods, consult with an electrician so that you do not overload outlets. For example, a refridge may pull some ninety odd volts. We know that we use one ten volts in our home. If a refridge pull ninety odd and you hook up a microwave or other things that pull in so much, you may be trying to take out more voltage out of that line than is actually in it, which will cause the line to overheat. The overheating of the line will break down the insulation on the line and eventually set these insulations on fire, then you have an electrical fire within your walls and things like that. We have cases where the stove itself, the insulation between the two sides catches fire. If this occurs, turn the stove off or turn the gas supply to the stove and call the Fire Department. Always ensure that incident with fire call the Fire Department through 90 or 911. We know that children have this natural curiosity in them to be mischievous and if you leave things within their reach they will use them. Ensure that when you light the stove or oven, the matches are light before you turn on the gas supply. If you’re frying something on the stove and the fat would ignite, fat catches fire, we advise you to cover the pot with a lid but do not throw water in it. If you have a gas leak what to do? If you smell the product LPG or butane as you know it, we encourage to use soap and water to check all joints and connections to identity the leak. The leak will manifest itself as is shown in this safety tips by bubbles. If you put soap and water solution over joints, if there’s a leak you will see bubbles coming up. That will indicate there is a leak. Then you need to fix that leak. If you don’t know how, call your gas company let them fix it.”

Marion Ali
“Alright, let’s say its Christmas Day, you discover the leak, nowhere open, nobody deh round to, you’re cooking the Christmas dinner, what should you do?”

Ted Smith
“Well you might just have to cook that dinner somewhere else. We could come there and shut off your tank if you don’t know how and reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring.”

Marion Ali
“But there are no quick remedies.”

Ted Smith
“No, no, no, there are no quick remedies. If you don’t know how to do it and you fool with it you might cause more problems so call somebody who knows what they’re doing.”

Smith says that when water is thrown on burning cooking oil, it can create a flare that can cause serious burns. He also advises that it’s always best to use fire-resistant type decorations. Another tip is to disconnect electrical appliances at night to reduce the possibility of a house fire. Smokers are also advised to keep lit cigarettes away from gas tanks and to completely put out cigarette butts.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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