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Sunday, February 25, 2024

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    What Items Will Take Out During A Fire?

    This post is about protecting physical things. I know someone out there will be thinking “You’re alive. You didn’t get injured. You have hope. You have family. You have friends. Belongings are vanity. Belongings can be replaced. etc..”
    One of the worst things that can happen to you is losing your property to fire. It’s something that worries me.
    These recent fires in Lagos are sad and depressing. People’s livelihoods gone up in smoke. How many have insurance?
    For years, I’ve tried to prepare myself for fires in every place I’ve lived. It’s not easy being always-vigilant. It’s stressful, but safety first. Fire-contingency plans are very important.
    First of all, it’s almost impossible to save everything in the event of an actual fire. So one has to prioritize things. Some properties (assets) are more important than others.
    Ask yourself, what are the most important physical things you own? Now this varies widely for people. It can be jewellery, certificates, documents, art artefacts, devices, etc…
    You need to keep those things in a place/location that has some immunity to fire.
    I have a lot of gadgets. Some are rare vintage and hard to replace and I’d like to preserve them for as long as possible. These are assets, IMHO. Some other gadgets are cheap and easily replaceable. Some are expensive, but are easily replaceable with enough money.
    I also have my important documents and certificates. These are very important. Most can be replaced, but it will take A LOT of time, energy, money and stress to replace them. Some years ago, a friend of mine was travelling by night bus on a coach service. They were attacked by robbers. Most of the passengers ran into the bush, so the robbers set the bus on fire. My friend lost ALL his academic certificates. Every last one of them. And he was supposed to travel abroad for his masters in a few months. He had to start travelling to the offices of WAEC, his university, NYSC, etc…to get new copies. I don’t want to imagine how stressful and time-consuming that must have been.
    If your assets are small enough (documents, jewellery, small gadgets), you might want to invest in fire-proof cases or safes for them. These cases aren’t indestructible, but in a fire they take a long time to melt or burn. Some of these cases are also water-proof. I bought one last year. And I’m happy with it, for now.
    If you can insure your assets too, it helps. I don’t know much of how insurance works in Nigeria for physically-small assets like documents and gadgets. In UK, there are insurance services that cover theft and damage to valuable electronics. I paid for one such service during my masters.
    Insurance is particularly important for physically-large assets e.g. vehicles, houses, and the like. They should also have fire-prevention strategies. Keep enough fire-extinguishers around. Train the people on what to do when there’s a fire.
    You may also want to consider what you should do if you’re present during a fire. IF you have just 1 minute to grab something before leaving the building, what will you grab? Where will it be? Perhaps you can keep that fireproof case in a location that’s easily accessible to you as you depart. I’ve experienced an actual fire-alarm at night while sleeping in a hotel. I made sure I wore socks and jacket, got my phones and keys, checked for other important assets before calmly leaving the room. That was just a false alarm, even though we ended up waiting outside in the cold for about 30 minutes before the Fire Marshall cleared us to go back inside. But what if it was a real fire? When you sense the smoke and heat and panic? Will you have the composure to be calm and think before escaping? If that ever happens to me, I hope I’m able to keep calm and make the right choices.
    To all the victims of fire disasters, my deepest condolences.

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