Feb 2, 2009, 5:22 AM
For four youngsters to burn to death and property to ashes in a single apartment is a great loss not only to the immediate family, but to the nation at large.
It is, indeed, sad and unfortunate to lose a loved one in the hands of fire, especially one caused by candle in households.
It is, therefore, essential that intensified sensitization campaign is mounted and sustained, to enlighten the masses of our people about the dangers involved in using lit candle as source of light at home.
It has become recurrent that anytime we hear about fire outbreaks the root cause is always a lighted candle.
We all know that fire is as disastrous as being useful to us.
Fire outbreak is very dangerous as, when it erupts, it is either we lose all our hard-earned property or our lives to it.
Fire outbreak also subjects its victims to poverty, because anytime it occurs it leaves a painful and bitter memory difficult to erase from our thought.
It brings economic loss to both the victims and the government and, in our case, through the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), which always struggles for funds to compensate victims of disasters.
Incidents of disastrous fire outbreaks have occurred in most parts of the country over time, such as the ones at the Serre Kunda Market, in URR, and other parts of the country, bringing abject poverty to victims and, in some instances, taking lives as has happened in the Latrikunda German incident.
We should, therefore, ask ourselves the question: Why is a candle always the root cause of fire outbreaks in our society?
Fire we all know is no child’s play; hence parents should be very careful with the use of candles at home, especially where there are kids.
In January 2013, The Gambia Fire Service conducted a sensitization exercise on how to prevent fire outbreaks.
However, it seems that has not filtered down properly to the public, as people continue to risk lives and property by using candles to provide light at home, especially in the midst of children.
In March 2014, fire outbreaks left 20 families homeless in Jimara, URR.
In July 2014, there was another disastrous fire outbreak in Jarra West, and the story goes on, with great loss to the victims.
The National Disaster Management Agency should, therefore, accelerate its efforts by embarking on an intensive awareness creation campaign to enlighten people on disaster prevention and management, so that money spent on disaster outbreaks could be utilised on other development projects.
We know they are doing their best, but there is need for more to be done.
Lives and properties should be preserved at all cost.
Candles, therefore, should be avoided as a source of light at homes.
When there is no electricity at home, people could use battery lamps, which are sold at the market at reasonable costs.
Life is too precious to be wasted away in such fire incidents caused by candles.
Prevention is better than cure; so we should be careful when dealing with fire to protect our properties, as well as save our lives.
“Every step of life shows much caution is required.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe