Persons Urged to Take Precautions Against Fires Resulting from Earthquakes


Officer in Charge of Fire Prevention and Safety for Clarendon, District Officer Ronald Walker, is urging Jamaicans to remember that earthquakes are generally followed, or accompanied by fires, and that precautions must be taken to prevent the occurrence, or spread of these.
In a recent interview with JIS News, Mr. Walker informed that the environmental instability created when an earthquake occurs, provides the ideal medium for fires to begin, as spilled and exposed materials, easily ignite.
“Most times when there is an earthquake fires usually occur. Basically, there are times when you have spills like oil spills, and because of that there is a tendency for ignition from electrical sources or from naked light. Check and double check any fuel source. We are sure we are going to have any kind of ignition and we are trying to prevent that,” he pointed out.
Mr. Walker hastened to advise that preventative measures, as opposed to actions taken after the event, would go a far way in preventing injury, and loss of life and property.
“We need to make sure we do not have flammable liquids stored in our houses. We need to check our electrical wires to make sure we do not have any, cut, loosed and shaking, lying around the place. We also need to make sure we have no garbage stored which will cause any sort of ignition,” he cautioned.
Mr. Walker explained that children, because of their vulnerability, require the supervision of adults who will ensure their safe movement from an affected building or area, to a place deemed to be secure.
“Children must also be put in safe places, because they are more vulnerable when it comes to things like those. If a fire occurs after an earthquake the first thing you need to do is evacuate the building. Normally in an earthquake the furniture and everything will be intact. They may be damaged, but if a fire starts, all those things will be destroyed. If we are in the building we are also going to be affected, so we need to evacuate the building as quickly as possible. Especially in a school situation, children will have to get outside as quickly as possible. It’s going to be quick but it needs to be done in an orderly manner, so that nobody will be hurt by stampede,” he informed.
In addition, Mr. Walker said, “Students should go directly to their place of assembly to make sure they are safe. Teachers should make sure nobody is left inside the building, they should make sure to check the bathrooms and other places that students have access to, to make sure that nobody is hurt. Normally when there is an earthquake, most times fires occur, most times”.
Earthquake Awareness Week is being observed from January 11 to 17 under the theme, ‘Earthquakes Have No Season: Do Your Part. Be Earthquake Smart!’

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