19 November 2012

Rwanda: Ensuring Fire Safety Vital


There has been a spate of unexplained fires in the past mainly involving entertainment spots. First was the fire that gutted in February 2010, B-Club Discotheque located in the upscale Nyarutarama suburb in Gasabo District. The club was left in total ruins after a fire broke out and destroyed the entire second floor of KL House, where the nightclub was located.

Other popular hangout joints that have burned up include Executive Carwash in Kimihurura, Downtown Café and La Classe both located in the city centre. The latest was at the weekend when Cadillac, one of Kigali's most popular nightspots, went up in flames.

It is unfortunate that people just suffer property loss, a hard hit in itself as a result of the fires. Businesses should not be ruined by such avoidable incidents. Questions have been raised about the causes of the numerous fires; and possible solutions have been suggested.

The relevant people should do enough to prevent the fire outbreaks. Do nightclubs and bars have the capacity to deal with fires? Many places should implement fire safety guidelines set by the police fire department.

The guidelines include putting fire extinguishers, and putting in place emergency exits among other things. It should not be a norm for authorities in various sectors to act only after disaster has struck. Even where preventive measures exist on paper, enforcement should be carried out to by relevant authorities to avert calamities.

The police fire department has previously said that at most of the bars and restaurants that have been burnt; one notices laxity in ensuring good housekeeping standards. You see a cocktail of things in the kitchen; gas cookers, wet floors and poorly insulated electric cables. All these should be put in order because they create conducive conditions for fire outbreak.

An inspection would reveal many hangouts are operating without safety and security standards. The City council must act and ensure that hangouts meet the minimum safety standards to control fires. No one expects to go out only for the place to catch on fire.

Also, important for all, including work places, fire-prevention list should include installing smoke alarms.

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