Temperatures in Kuwait are soaring to more than 50 degrees Celsius in the shade and much higher inside a vehicle or under direct sunlight. This summer, there have been several fires already, gutting vehicles, flats and commercial buildings. A recent blaze took place in a parking lot in Maidan Hawally, which reportedly started from a cigarette lighter left inside a vehicle, and as a result, three cars were burned. The caretaker of a nearby building said he saw the fire when it started.
“The fire was small, but in a few seconds it became huge and consumed nearby cars. I called the fire department and they come in a few minutes,” Hamoud, a haris (caretaker) of a nearby building told Kuwait Times. The fire fighters were able to extinguish the blaze, but only after three cars were charred.
“My car was near to the one on fire. The firefighters were quick, so thank God my car was spared. If they were delayed a bit, probably my car would have been next,” said Jun, a Filipino resident.
The Kuwait Fire Department has come up with several warnings and guidelines for the public to follow to prevent fires at home or in the car.
IN THE CAR
1) Vehicle maintenance/inspection is number one in preventing vehicle fires. High percentages of vehicle fires are caused by poor maintenance, mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions. Any cracked or blistered hoses must be replaced. Rubber or plastic wirings and insulations when exposed to metals can melt – they must be checked at all times.
2) Avoid putting flammable materials/liquids in the car such as lighters, sodas, perfumes and any type of lithium batteries or gadget batteries.
3) Park your car in the shade or slightly open the windows to prevent accumulation of excessive heat.
4) Avoid pumping a full tank of gasoline as it could spill out and trigger a fire.
5) Do not put too much air in your tyres.
6) Your car, as directed by law, must have a standby fire extinguisher to easily douse any fire in your car.
7) Avoid throwing cigarette butts.
1) Seal holes that can be used by insects or any animals to penetrate your homes. Not only humans search for a cooler place, animals and insects too, like snakes and scorpions, seek a cooler place.
2) Be hydrated, drink more water and bring along liquids at all time.
3) Don’t turn on the water heater.
4) Don’t put the gas cylinder in direct contact with the sun (whether the spare or full cylinder).
5) Minimize the use of electricity in the house to avoid overloading/tripping.
6) Don’t face the sun directly – cover your head and face with towels, especially if walking under the sun from 10 am to 4 pm.
7) People should place water outside their houses for birds and stray dogs/cats to drink.
8) Keep a fire extinguisher in the home in a safe and easily accessible location.
9) Install a smoke detector or fire alarm in the home and make sure the batteries are fresh and working.
10) Don’t leave appliances plugged in while on holiday. Unplug TVS, microwaves, computers, split A/Cs and other devices when not in use or when traveling to avoid electrical fires.
Meanwhile, the Public Authority for Manpower in Kuwait has issued a directive informing all businesses and establishments to suspend outdoor work (of any kind) from June 1 till the end of August from 11 am till 5 pm. Last week, the highest temperature was recorded in Kuwait of 52.2 degrees Celsius, according to member of the Arab Union of Space and Astronomy Dr Khalid Al-Zaaq of Saudi Arabia.
By Ben Garcia