Families in Oman put themselves at risk with no smoke alarms - Revisited

Opinion Sunday 24/July/2016 15:12 PM
By: Times News Service
Families in Oman put themselves at risk with no smoke alarms - Revisited

This refers to the story ‘Families in Oman put themselves at risk with no smoke alarms’ (July 12).
Following fire safety measures is very relevant, but it requires a collective effort to improve awareness about the very basics of safety in our society.
Safety plays an important role in society and ensures the well-being of people. Ignorance about basic safety requirements often leads to alarming situations that can even result in calamities that are beyond control.
Since lifestyles have changed to adjust with individual needs and priorities, safety becomes less of a priority for many. The recurrence of fire-related incidents in Oman has proved that people are either ignorant of the need of giving safety a priority or give less importance to its relevance in life.
Even though modern houses and apartments are equipped with basic safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, smoke alarms etc. safety concerns still exist due to a basic lack of awareness. Although such equipment has become a pre-requisite for buildings, the fact is that many are not conversant with its usage. It could be that failure in complying with basic safety guidelines can be costlier in terms of money, as well as loss of life in the worst scenario.
As potential hazards may lead to creating a chaos and even end up causing danger, the reporting of safety hazards and incidents should be the responsibility of everyone. The timely reporting of health, safety, security and environmental hazards could help avoid unsafe conditions in the future.
The installation of safety equipment is a mandatory requirement for apartments and villas, residents should be provided with a demonstration about its usage, in case of an emergency. It would be ideal if one of the senior family members is familiar with the usage of such equipment. This integrated approach makes the residents feel comfortable in meeting potential dangers.
Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are two very important tools that every home has to be equipped with. Apartment caretakers and residents should ensure that safety equipment is properly installed and adequate maintenance checks are carried out by service providers. This needs to be randomly checked by relevant authorities to ensure its authenticity.
Meanwhile, it is equally important to check the validity of safety equipment installed at apartment buildings. Although property owners are held responsible for maintaining them, the residents can also alert the concerned personnel to carry out timely maintenance of the safety equipment. Likewise, replacement of smoke alarms should also be carried out as per supplier guidelines for its effective usage.
Fire drill sessions for residential apartment buildings can help mend confidence among the residents. The familiarity with the usage of safety equipment can encourage residents to be proactive and thereby avoid panic situations.
In private apartment buildings the renewal of fire alarm equipment is mostly not carried out as per guidelines.
Together with stringent safety measures in place, it is also equally important to ensure random visits by the authorities concerned at private properties and small-scale trading organisations wherein safety is often ignored due to ignorance and lack of initiative.