Proper equipment, know-how needed for fire safety

I am concerned about the spate of serious fires in buildings, with the most recent one being at a warehouse earlier this month ("Narrow escape for workers as fire ravages warehouse"; Nov 3).

The way the fires raged through entire floors of some buildings unimpeded shows an obvious lack of fire safety installations at the premises.

Historical cases of fires in buildings have proven fire safety installations, especially sprinklers, to be vital in preventing extensive damage to property and loss of lives - smoke inhalation is the No. 1 cause of death in a fire.

Community centres should hold programmes to train more people in the use of the right type of fire extinguisher.

In fact, all companies should ensure that their employees are well briefed on fire safety and know how to extinguish small fires safely; they should also be well trained in evacuation procedures.

For example, people should be equipped with the knowledge that a fire involving oil or electricity should be doused with a powder-based extinguisher rather than water.

In addition, sufficient numbers of employees should be trained in first aid, which could include how to use automated external defibrillators.

It would be useless to equip buildings with these life-saving devices if people do not know how to use them.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2016, with the headline 'Proper equipment, know-how needed for fire safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe