We hardly ever think about these things except to say, “It’s not my portion.” But events can blind side us on any given Tuesday and emergencies don’t discriminate between creeds or beliefs. The difference between an accident and a fatality is often the emergency response. Don’t even dull.
1. Buy a fire extinguisher/fire blanket. For N5000, you can get a decent fire blanket from your nearest fire station, hardware store (Game, for instance) or online. A fire blanket can be thrown over a small fire or wrapped around a burning person to starve the fire of air. You know those kitchen fires that start with a burning pot of oil? You need a fire blanket. Any old blanket won’t work; fire blankets are specially made with fire-retardant material so they won’t burn.
In this country where fire fighters are practically unicorns (non-existent), you also need a fire extinguisher for those bigger fires that you can’t throw a blanket over. There are different types of fire extinguishers but industry experts recommend dry powder extinguishers for homes. Dry powder will extinguish fires fueled by solids (paper, wood, plastic), flammable liquids (petrol, oil) and flammable gas (cooking gas). It can also be used on electric fires. Be warned, though. Dry powder extinguishers are very messy. Also note that gas fires are best extinguished by closing off the gas supply.
2. Move your gas cylinder outside. If a gas leak occurs, you don’t want your kitchen filled with flammable gas. Move your cylinder outside so that it can leak in peace. Enough said.
3. Place household chemicals in properly labeled bottles. When I was in NYSC camp, I stored my Jik bleach in a water bottle under my bed. My bunk-mate was eating lunch one afternoon, started to choke, reached for the nearest bottle of “water” and drank my bleach. My life flashed before my eyes. How was I going to explain myself to the soldiers if she died? Thankfully, she survived after a lot of gagging and coughing. Moral of the story? Don’t place chemicals in misleading containers. Don’t put kerosene in coke bottles. Don’t put otapiapia in Sprite bottles. You get the drift.
4. Emergency plan/numbers. When an emergency happens, what will you do? What will your family do? If there’s a fire, where is the agreed safe point to muster? If there’s an injury, and the main caregiver is unavailable, who else can be called? Are those numbers visible somewhere? Is the balcony a practical emergency exit? Is the entire family on the same page?
5. Store your petrol/diesel outdoors but away from your generator. It’s ridiculous how many people keep their fuel right beside their generators because of convenience. An accident waiting to happen, guys. Heat plus fuel equals an explosion. Let’s also consider the dangers of refueling a generator while it’s running because we don’t want to miss a minute of football/Tinsel action. Have you seen what fire does to human flesh?
What safety tips would you add?
p.s. I’m returning to my fiction roots (yay!). Lol. I wrote a short story for the Etisalat Flash Fiction prize. You can read it here, and if you like it, please vote and share with your friends. Thanks!