11 Jul 2013

Fiji still battling fires despite community engagement

1:42 pm on 11 July 2013

Fiji's National Fire Authority is warning families to take greater care when cooking and lighting flames in their homes after two separate incidents.

Fiji has much to share at the joint disaster risk and climate change meeting in Nadi this week, after a successful community engagement programme, but authorities say there's more to do.

Alex Perrottet reports from Nadi.

"A former chief of Fiji's National Fire Authority Mark Reid says house fires and deaths from them have halved in only three or four years since better education programmes have changed people's behaviour. Safety containers are now being used for mosquito coils, and visits are continuing in schools, with the help of a character named Smokey the Bird. He visited a school in Labasa on Tuesday, where a fire completely destroyed a five-bedroom home last week. Days later another home was destroyed by fire in Lautoka. The Fire Authority says families should check electrical wiring and take greater care with candles and kerosene lanterns. The warnings come as disaster risk managers and government ministers meeting here say communities need to be more responsible for their own safety."