Preventing outbreaks of fire

  • Advocate Win Kyi

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I have been flooded with news about outbreaks of fire in newspapers, journals and on pages of social media covering those in rural and urban areas. Damages in property varied from rural areas to urban ones and were believed to have cost the country in millions of kyats. The reasons for catching fire are different, but the incident was basically negligent of the residents’ responsibilities. Lighted mosquito-coils had the houses on fire, engulfing and consuming a whole ward or village. Therefore keeping lighted mosquito-coils through day and night during the summer should be taken cautiously.
The modernization of technology and techniques leads to a large increase in the use of electricity. Electricity supply is available not only in big cities but also in rural areas. People tend to use electrical appliances such as washing-machines, dishwashers and other kitchenware. Electricity can become a friend or foe depending on the type of its use.
In the past, people used firewood or charcoal for cooking rice and curry. Using much electricity naturally leads to the use of firewood and charcoal on the decrease. Then people start to use electric kitchenware such as pressure cookers and pans for cooking meat and vegetables. They can set fire to flammable materials if they are not properly used. While cooking, overheating electrical board can set fire to flammable materials and if something has to be done in a hurry; all the switches must be turned off because overheating can set fire to things nearby.

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firefighters are fighting to extinguish the fire at Mingalar Market on 9 January, 2016.  Photo: Zaw Gyi (Panita)

If the wiring is faulty, it should be replaced as early as possible because the fire can be caused by it. Wiring in buildings should be handled by electricians for suitable voltage for using electrical appliances. If the wires are old and rusty, they must be replaced. It is advised that rats tend to cut off the wires. Once in a house foul smells kept coming out of it. The house was thoroughly searched but to no avail. The electrician was brought in to conduct a check on the wiring, resulting in finding a dry and rotten rat in the electricity board. When the electricity was turned off, the rat came into the board to cut off the wires; when turned on, the rat was killed by the current. The faulty wire could cause to set fire to nearby pieces of wood, said the electrician.
The old and faulty wires installed at home and factories should be replaced by the qualified electrician. Businessmen who use electricity in their mills and factories should always take care of the electric current. Faulty wiring in these buildings and overusing the electricity may lead to setting fire. If not necessary, electricity should not be used.
When charging a phone, attentions should be taken seriously not to ignite by overheating. Chemical solutions and fuels should be cautiously handled in order not to lead to an explosion.
Firewood is gathered and still used in some rural areas; it must be properly used in a systematic manner. In summer it is usually dry and windy; in the daytime, overheating could cause to set fire to because of fuel, firewood and electricity. Raging fire could cause a loss of human lives and as well as damages in property. As the saying goes:
“Thieves left something behind whereas everything is gutted by fire.” Fire is the worst enemy. Human losses and damages in property occur annually with careless use of fire by someone else. Fire destroys people from all walks of life. Smokers are in the habit of throwing cigarettes butts inadvertently at the roadsides. Lighted butts could easily catch fire with flammable materials, thereby spread on the nearby environment. Here comes a proverb: Fire from rubbish spreads through spire-like roof.

The worst excesses

Men are responsible for setting fire to flammable materials, causing a loss of human lives and damages in property annually. Outbreaks of fire usually occur during the summer. Section 285, Criminal Law was promulgated to take against those who have committed arson. In accordance with this Section, tough actions will be taken against those who have committed arson inadvertently or carelessly. They are liable to a heavy fine and could be sentenced to three-year imprisonment for arson.
Those who use fire recklessly or carelessly, thereby setting fire to flammable materials and actions will be taken against them according to Section 285, Criminal Law. Those who use the electricity are responsible for negligence and careless use of electricity, therefore tough actions will be taken against them.
In conclusion, outbreaks of fire could cause the harmful effects of the people concerned and the society in which they live. Tough actions will be taken against them too. According to the motto: “Avoid the danger of fire before being caught by it.” Therefore, people from all walks of life are sincerely urged to avoid the danger of fire by using it cautiously.

Translated by Arakan Sein

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