What can be done to reduce the risk of fires?
Some 177 fires have been recorded around the country this year, killing six people, injuring six others and causing over 33 billion kip in damage. Authorities say many houses and commercial buildings have poor wiring and are planning tougher regulations and standards to reduce the risk of fires. Vientiane Times asked members of the public what safety precautions should be taken.


Ms Kham Naovalath, a resident of Vientiane: Accidental fires are unfortunate and everyone should be aware of the safety measures they can take to prevent accidents. We should take care when lighting fires in woodland because flames or sparks can spread to dry leaves and grass and turn into a forest fire. We should also be careful when burning garbage because the fire could spread to nearby houses or other property. If possible, we should burn garbage in an incinerator and always put a fire out if we leave the house for a long time.

Mr Chanthaboun Sihalard, an official in Savannakhet province: We often see houses that have been damaged by fire and very often electrical faults are to blame but many people don’t care enough about safety and continue to use old electrical cabling. Recently, many counterfeit or bad quality materials have appeared on the market which in some cases have caused electrical short-circuits. People think it won’t happen to them because they don’t know enough about electrical safety. It’s very important for the authorities to inspect electrical systems and tell people to replace wiring or equipment if it’s too old.

Ms Sakhone Soutthichack, a resident of Xaythany district: Because of the risk of fires in hot weather, we should be careful when using electricity, fire, gas or fuel for cooking, and when burning garbage. I have heard about many people, especially children and elderly people, being affected by fires. I always do some checks for safety before I go to work to make sure nothing bad happens in my house. When there is a fire, people should not unnecessarily gather to watch because it can be very dangerous and hampers the operations of firemen and police.

Mr Sone, a resident of Vientiane province: When a house catches fire it destroys everything because local communities and authorities don’t have the resources to deal with the situation quickly enough. Another problem is that some neighbourhoods are too crowded which means fires spread very quickly. We hear about fires in Vientiane over and over again. I’m not sure we need to ask authorities to check on electrical installations in our houses because home owners often do their own installations and repairs. But we don’t pay enough care so fires are a frequent occurrence.

Ms Vilaiphone, an employee in Vientiane: I’ve never had any problems with electricity but I’m very scared about using it. Even though I don’t know a lot about it I always try to keep things safe. So when something is broken or too old I just ask an electrician to repair it for me. Sometimes my husband wants to do it but I don’t allow him to. I think we should be better prepared and organised to deal with fires and the authorities need to identify why they occur so often. I’ve been living in Vientiane for a very long time but a technician has never come to my home to check on the electricity system. I think the authorities should pay greater attention to this problem because it happens all too often.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update December 27, 2018)

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