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.