Fire chief gives tips as three harmed in flat fires

GO BACK inside and dial 112 in case of flames in stairwells, fire chief recommends.

THREE women, one 91, needed medical treatment after fires broke out in their homes in Benalmadena and San Pedro in the early hours of Tuesday morning (December 1).

Emergency services reported that two women, on 91 and the other 47, had to be treated following at blaze which broke out shortly before 3am in a third floor flat on Avenida de Retamar, Benalmadena, and another 19-year-old woman needed treatment after a fire at her second-floor flat on Calle Sevilla, San Pedro, at 5am.

A lack of knowledge amongst the public in general as to what to do when fire breaks out at home contributes to many deaths and injuries in Spain, Provincial Fire Brigade head Francisco Delgado said on Monday at the tenth Fire Prevention Week in Malaga.


Delgado gave a list of potential fire risks which included extension leads and heaters left on at night and also pointed out that 40 per cent of Spanish homes have gas cookers and eight per cent do not even have a fuse box installed.

Another major problem the brigade leader described was that of fires in stairwells of blocks of flats. Although people instinctively head for the stairs, this is one case in which residents need to get back inside their homes as quickly as possible, Delgado said. He explained that the first thing to do is to block cracks under doors to stop smoke getting in, then open the windows, call emergency services on 112 and if possible climb out of windows.

On average 150 people die and 3,000 need hospitalisation due to fires at homes in Spain each year. Victims are aged 65 or over in 70 per cent of the cases, and in 80 per cent of cases the fires start in bedrooms or living rooms.

General recommendations to reduce the risks include not using heaters at night as half of fires with victims break out at night while people are asleep. The fire brigade also recommends fitting smoke detectors and has proposed changes to the law to make them obligatory within homes.


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