Expert advises use of appropriate materials against building fires

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Mr Peter Igwe, General Manager, Cometstar Manufacturing Company Ltd., has advised Nigerians to use surge protectors, quality cables and professional electricians to avert incidences of fire outbreaks in buildings.

Igwe told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday that the quality of materials used for installation of electrical appliances could avert inferno in office and residences.

‘‘Some of the problems of electrical fires in buildings start with the kind of materials used in the electrification of the facilities.

‘‘Estate developers should ensure they use Nigerian Industrial Standard Certified Cables, that is, those certified by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in the electrification process.

‘‘The second is that they must engage qualified and competent electricians. Also appliances should be switched off when not in use.

‘‘Some of these fire outbreaks are caused when there are additional facilities after initial electrification of a building.

‘‘So before any additional facilities are added, it should be on the advice of qualified and competent persons to avoid overloading the already existing installation,’’ he said.

Igwe advised those moving into new houses or offices to ensure that certified electricians study the electrification installations and the load capacity.

According to him, the switch duals, control switches, the switch capacities and the cables have their current carrying capacities.

‘‘If a qualified and competent electrician looks at the installation he will know if the already installed facilities in the house can still accommodate further appliances,’’ he said.

He appealed to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to educate Nigerians and encourage them to use home surge protectors to contain power fluctuations.

‘‘Power fluctuations are caused either by loose or corroded connections, either at the house or on the power lines that brings power to the house.

‘‘Assuming the materials used are of the right capacity, then the connection should be firmly clipped.

‘‘There are steps to protect your house and installations from power fluctuation. Assuming it is emanating from the power lines that feed the house, we have what is called surge protecting devices which are to be used in the house.

‘‘We have stabilisers of the right capacities; you cannot use 500 KVA on an air conditioner of one horse power which is almost 750 higher than the 500. Use the appropriate power surge protector,’’ he said.

He said that there were various categories in the market, adding that those moving into a new house could purchase a whole house surge protector in the electrical panel of the meter.

He said that electricity suppliers could supply house surge protectors on request.

He appealed to the PHCN to ensure their workers carry out routine maintenance of their facilities.

‘‘Some of these fluctuations are caused by loose connections. They have to be checking them because aluminum cables corrodes; corrosion also causes voltage fluctuations from the power lines,’’ he said. (NAN)

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