Consumer group alerts public to fires in the home


Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 2

The Consumers' Foundation yesterday urged the public to be alert for house fires after it revealed that the majority of blazes take place in the home.

According to the Taiwan Architecture Fire Prevention Association (建築防火學會), of the 64 fire accidents that killed more than three people last year, the majority of them started in the home.

"Residents should regularly check their electric circuits, put fire extinguishers in the home and install fire detectors to ensure safety," said Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏), secretary-general of the foundation.

According to Cheng, consumers should pay particular attention to extension cords in order to prevent voltage overload.

"Electric appliances, such as heaters, which require a high voltage, should be plugged into a separate extension cord from other electric appliances. Voltage overload may easily cause overheating and result in fires," Cheng said.

Cheng also warned consumers not to place flammable material, such as cotton clothes, on electric heaters, as it could easily catch fire.

"Many people tend to dry their damp clothing on electric heaters and let it sit overnight. As a result, many fires tend to break out in the middle of the night during wintertime," Cheng said.

Chen Hung-yi (陳弘毅), the head of the Fire Construction Department at Wu-Feng Institute of Technology, said that metal-bar windows may be deadly in the event of a fire.

"Although metal-bar windows might prevent burglary, they do not allow people to escape easily even if there is the presence of a small opening, which is often locked," Chen said.

Chen also said that prevention is more important than rescue.

"If a home is equipped with the necessary fire hazard equipment and the family members are aware of fire safety, people living in such a home have a better chance of surviving in the event of fire," Chen said.