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Increased collaboration, better regulation, to curb electrical fire outbreaks

Increased collaboration among operators and regulators, regulatory enforcement, advocacy and sensitization have been proffered by experts, regulators and other stakeholders, as sustainable ways to curb the incessant electrical fire outbreaks in buildings across Nigeria.

This was made known at the 2021 edition of the Eaton Safety Roundtable Session which took place on Wednesday, October 13, in Lagos. The annual event hosted by Eaton, a global power management company, saw panel members share their insights on the theme “Enhancing Electric Safety in Buildings.”

“The importance of collaboration amongst all stakeholders will go a long way in enhancing safety in both residential and commercial properties,” Usman Momoh, the assistant general manager at Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency said at the event

Momoh revealed that the role of the regulators as a watchdog to enforce safety codes and standards cannot be overstated.

“Prevention is better and cheaper than cure. Safety in buildings should precede the design of buildings. Regulation is the foundation on which safety in buildings depends upon. However, ignorance and lack of awareness on the regulatory requirements often lead to loss of not just properties but lives,” He further said.

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Similarly, Achema Alewu, the assistant director, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), reiterated the need for more collaboration among stakeholders.

“We will continue to ramp up measures to stem wide circulation of substandard products of imports and local manufactures. However, only through increased awareness and continuous collaboration between all stakeholders will we effectively reduce to the barest minimum the cases of electrical fires in buildings,” Alewu said.

In Nigeria, fire has been the primary threat to people working and living in commercial property. According to data from the Ministry of Environment, over 54 percent of fire that was recorded in 2014 was from electric faults.

Data from the Nigerian Federal Fire Service showed that in 2013, 185 people died and N5.95 billion worth of property was destroyed in 470 fire incidents the preceding year. The Safety round-table session is one of Eaton’s innovative measures to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians.

“The existence of counterfeit products continues to threaten safety in buildings. At Eaton, we will continue to collaborate with the government agencies and relevant stakeholders to eradicate the existence of such products in the Nigerian market,” Charles Iyo, the regional manager, Eaton West Africa stated.

Iyo further added that they will continue to advocate for knowledge sharing sessions such as this to bring all relevant stakeholders together, ensuring that the tough conversations are had while also providing access to members of the public to ask and receive answers to pertinent questions.

On his part Bada Waheed, the executive chairman of Licensed Electrical Contractors Association of Nigeria (LECAN), Lagos State chapter advised that before any building can be energized, it has to be through a professional certified electric contractor.

“On various occasions, we try as much as possible to sensitize the public to know the people that are concerned and directly involved within the electricity industry so that they can avoid fire accidents,” Waheed said.

Semiu Adeshina, the commandant technical services at State Fire and Rescue Service noted that when it comes to safety, the citizens have their own roles to play. We need to develop the right orientation and mindset so that we can be able to follow the standards that have already been outlined by the government.”

In line with Eaton’s mandate to improve people’s lives with power management technologies, the firm has designed revolutionary products such as the ARCON 3G arc fault protection system to reduce the risk of harmful and costly arc flash incidents that could result in injury or death of personnel and damage to property.

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