Fires at Home ...2
1:56 pm | Author: Living Safe and Green in Nigeria
The photo above is an example of a fire protection system. So, there’s an alarm to alert you, sprinklers that contain water as well as a fire extinguisher to assist in the quenching/quelling of the fire. I think in Nigeria, one should go more for complete quenching as it is safe to assume that you will not get timely or meaningful help from the fire service. I am not blaming them directly for this as I want to believe that it is bad funding/planning on the government’s part that is responsible for this.

Imagine we had Mr. A and Mr. B living in the same area, with Mr. A’s house having a fire protection system and Mr. B’s house not having any at all, who do you think will fare better in a fire?

So, I was going to go on about how to leave your house. Yep, there is a method. It is not safe to just get up and walk out especially if the fire has advanced.

Best thing is to get on your hands and knees and crawl out of there. The science behind it is that when there is smoke, it rises. So the safest place to be is on the ground which should essentially be smokeless. The smoke goes up so you should go down. The number one killer during a fire is not the fire itself but smoke inhalation. You should try as much as possible to avoid inhalation of this smoke.

When crawling towards the door, use the back of your hand to feel for obstructions/obstacles in front of you. Not too far in front, just immediately in front. When you get to a door, use the back of your hand to feel the door. If it is very hot, it is possible that there is a fire on the other side of the door and that you should use an alternative means of escape.

I recognize that it is particularly challenging in Nigeria where landlords do not always provide a fire escape or even a back door. In some houses, the "back door" is adjacent to the front door and leads out to essentially the same place. Consider using a balcony if it is built in such a way that you can safely climb down. Or better still when picking out a house to live in, make sure that there is a back door that is very separate from the front door. It may just save your life.

There is no way that I can fully do the topic: fire safety justice with just 2 posts and will probably get back to it at some point.

However, please watch the video below as it teaches how to use a fire extinguisher. I can not embed the video, so please just follow the link here:

The extinguisher that I would advise that you get for your house is the ABC.

Rmemeber, all this knowledge is for naught if you do not share it! Call a meeting of your housemates or other tenants if you can and share! Remember that safety is a collaborative effort. The more aware and knowledgeable people around you are, the safer you may be.

Be Safe, Stay Green.
Fires at Home
10:06 pm | Author: Living Safe and Green in Nigeria

For a fire to occur, 3 things must be present. Ignition source, Fuel and Oxygen.

Oxygen is always present thanks to the fact that it is one of the components that make up air. So if you have any of the other 2 available around each other in your home, poof! a fire.

This means that if you smell gas {FUEL} (cooking gas does not naturally have any smell, that nasty smell of rotten onions was put into the cooking gas as a safety measure), please do not light a match {IGNITION} to check if the gas is leaking.

A family went through a preventable fire because their housemaid did exactly what I described above. In that split second when she made the decision to light a match, she had no idea that she was going to make her employers lose their home and almost lose their children. Fire is a very deadly thing and I will speak about it more later on the blog. Let’s just lay the foundation for now.

Do what you can to prevent a fire:

(The fire service in Nigeria is not dependable. You must make your own plans)

  • Put smoke detectors in at least every room of your house minus the kitchen and generator house (for obvious reasons). They do not need much maintenance…just change the batteries and sweep cobwebs and dust out of its way. If you can’t do every room, do at least one and pray!

  • I realize that a lot of people don’t own their homes. If you rent, you may not be able to do this: Install a sprinkler system. Remember that the smoke alarms can only warn you. Sprinklers increase your chances of surviving a fire.
  • If you can’t put in sprinklers, have fire extinguishers placed in strategic positions. Have at least one big can and smaller sizes that are easier to lift. No point having a fire extinguisher you can’t lift. I will go into how to use one later. There are different types for different types of fire. The best one for the home? That’s a tough one as they should usually be chosen for the class of fire they are to extinguish. E.g electric fire, kerosene fire.
  • Okay, now you know there is a fire and if you have sprinklers, they may be on the way to saving your house so our focus is on saving the inhabitants. You must leave the house. But not just in any manner you fancy. It has to have been practiced in the past. Have drills with your family at least once a quarter. Once a month is more ideal, but hey… na Naija we dey!

How do you leave the house? We will finish get into that and more in the next post. This is getting too long.

Stay Safe. Be green!

Last thoughts: Educate anyone that shares your home with you on fire safety. If you can’t do it effectively on your own, send me a mail and I will send you a few links and PowerPoint slides. Geeky, but important.

P.S: Do not entirely blame the housemaid for the fire. It was the responsibility of her employees to walk her through several scenarios that could occur and how to handle them. A tough task, but one that would have proven invaluable.

Under the Influence
11:30 am | Author: Living Safe and Green in Nigeria
Today, I will speak on something about Nigerian driving that worries me no end: Drinking and Driving. There is no test for intoxication on the Nigerian road. On more than one occasion, I have come across a Danfo driver whose whiskey breath could kill flies. Or is it the Car wash that serves alcohol while you are waiting for your car to be washed?

The average Nigerian man drinks. As at October of 2008, Nigerian Breweries had sold about 120billion naira worth of drinks for the year. Majority of that money came from the sale of beer and other alcoholic drinks (To put it in perspective a bottle of beer costs about N150). Naturally, over the Christmas holiday, sales go up. Try and imagine the amount of alcohol that equates to. And also remember that there are other companies that make and sell alcoholic drinks which are not accounted for here. A good example is Guiness Nigeria PLC.

It is the norm to find a man (generalization as women are not exempt) drive to a pub/beer parlour in Nigeria, have quite a bit to drink, get into his car and drive himself home or to whatever destination he has in mind. This goes a step further: you have these men driving other people who have either not had anything to drink, a little to drink or just like the driver, a lot to drink.

Why is it so unsafe?

Drunk driving or Driving under the influence can lead to an increase in the probability of a car accident occuring as a result of :

* Poor coordination

* Impaired eyesight (seeing double)

* Slower reflexes which impairs quick reaction to a situation that may arise while driving.

What can you do to stay safe?

* Don’t drink and drive.

* If you must drink, ensure that there is someone available to drive you back home.

* If you must drink and drive, ensure that you limit your alcohol intake.

* Be proactive- Buy a Breathalyzer ( they are cheap) and measure your alcohol level before you drive your car. Leave it in the car so that it is easily accessible. The limit is 0.08. Over the limit? Take a cab.

* If you are driven by someone that drinks, keep a breathalyzer in your bag. Don’t be shy to use it on him/her. It may save your life.

Remember, when you drive under the influence, you not only endanger your life, you endanger the life of innocent people as well. These may be pedestrians, other drivers or even your passengers.

Here is a touching story on a victim of drunk driving. It could easily have been anyone. Even YOU!

I know that it is part of the Arrive Alive plan to tackle drunk driving and hopefully this should see far less car accidents occurring.

I personally hope to see this crime become punishable with jail time without the option of a fine. It is important enough to merit this punishment as human lives are involved.

Stay Safe, Be Green.