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  • Fire safety at home: It begins with you

  • Businessman Adrian Yeo says he spent RM500 to install fire safety equipment in his condominium unit in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

    The father of a three-year-old made it a point to put up two smoke detectors and store two fire extinguishers, one each in the kitchen and living room. There is also a fire blanket in the kitchen for good measure.

    “Most people take things for granted. But you’ll never know what can happen, especially when cooking,” says the 45-year-old, who also keeps a portable fire extinguisher in his car.

    Yeo says fire safety awareness was inculcated in him when he was studying in Britain, where most residences are adequately supplied with fire safety gear.

    “So far, I have only experienced minor mishaps like an electrical fire from burnt fuses. I would never want anything worse to happen than that, of course, especially with my family,” he says.

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    Yeo says that not many of his friends have the same vigilance against fires.

    “Out of 10 friends, I only know two who have proper fire safety equipment at home.

    “Most people do not really bother much about fire safety, thinking that such incidents won’t happen to them. Some people also think they can always call the fire department.

    “But you are always the first line of defence. A small fire can be put out by ordinary people with the right equipment,” he says.

    An engineer who only wants to be known as Aaron, 31, says he has a small fire extinguisher at home that can be easily handled by him and his wife.

    “I bought it for about RM90 two years ago when we got our house. It wasn’t too expensive and is nothing to boast about,” he says, but, as the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure.

    Aaron believes more Malaysians need to be more aware of the safety risks at home.

    “People can save a lot by acting quickly in putting out a small fire before it becomes uncontrollable,” he says.

    Aaron also points out that some people do not have the necessary insurance policies to protect themselves.

    What about those who have not given much thought about fire safety at home? Why haven’t they?

    A housewife who wants to be known only as Chong says her family has yet to install a smoke detector or buy a portable fire extinguisher since they moved into their house in 2012.

    “We were just too preoccupied with other things when we moved in, like our renovation, so we did not think about fire prevention,” says the 36-year-old.

    She says she will speak to her husband about ways they can improve fire safety in their house in Petaling Jaya.

    Malaysian Fire Protection Association president Teh Khay Leong says the average Malaysian spends between 12 and 16 hours at home, creating the need for the place to be a healthy, happy and safe environment.

    He proposes that the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry make it a mandatory requirement for all new housing projects to ensure there is at least a fire extinguisher and smoke detector in every home.

    “This will kickstart a culture of having fire safety standards among the young and future generations.

    “Housing developers must play a role to provide every house for sale with such safety equipment. It could also serve as an incentive to attract buyers.

    “We need to start improving fire safety awareness at some point,” Teh says.

    Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/11/01/fire-safety-at-home-it-begins-with-you/#iXj1Q0YgWEtDhCBx.99