Fire prevention and detection

Strategies to curb the rampant fires in Uganda buildings

It is high time we had an honest discussion about prevention of fires in buildings. These fires cause death, colossal damage to property and destroy people’s businesses

The fire in the Gayaza High School dormitory was a frightening thought for everyone especially Parents. Thankfully, there were no causalities. However, there have been many fires in buildings across the country.

It is high time we had an honest discussion about prevention of fires in buildings. These fires cause death, colossal damage to property and destroy people’s businesses. My experiences are based on what I have seen done in other countries that have strong fire management procedures that Uganda should make normal.

First and foremost, Fire drills should be carried out every 3 – 6 months in public buildings. The Cambridge dictionary defines a Fire drill as a situation in which people practise what they must do in order to leave a building safely if there is a fire.

Fire drills will involve timing how fast it will take for the building to be evacuated, executing the evacuation plan and designate the fire Marshalls (i.e. those responsible for making sure everyone has left the building) on a regular basis.

A previous employer, a global accounting firm based in Luxembourg, carried them out randomly every 3-6 months. These don’t cost anything except a little company time. Sometimes, it felt annoying and unnecessary. However, it’s well worth it given the potential risk.

Secondly, Smoke Detectors should be made compulsory. Smoke detectors are actually inexpensive.

For starters, these need to be made compulsory for all public buildings. Homes should also be mandated to install them within a two year period especially those in cities. Most smoke detectors are battery-powered.

The alternative is a hard-wired smoke detector. This hard-wired detector requires less maintenance. However, given the country’s challenges to reliable electricity, the battery option might be the better option.

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