Half of homes not fire-safe, survey finds

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 November, 2008, 12:00am

The homes of more than half of children polled are a fire risk, a survey has found.

The Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association survey conducted last month found that the homes of 55.2 per cent of schoolchildren had a high risk of catching fire and children were likely to be burned or scalded.

The survey asked 505 children aged six to 12 to assess fire-safety measures in their homes, including whether there was a fire extinguisher and if curtains were hung near the stoves.

The homes that complied with fewer than 11 of 26 fire-safety measures listed by the group were defined as unsafe, the association said.

The poll found that 57.1 per cent of respondents had never set out a home fire escape plan.

Eva Ho Yuen-wa, the group's assistant director, said families should plan two escape routes out of every room and choose a meeting place a safe distance from their homes in case of fire.

The findings also showed that the homes of 37.5 per cent of the schoolchildren polled were not equipped with smoke alarms.

A total of 10.2 per cent of those polled said the fire extinguishers in their homes were placed in kitchens. Ringo Chan Chi-hung, the group's supervisor, said fire extinguishers should be placed outside the kitchen and not near stoves.

And 52.8 per cent of children said their family members often left the kitchen for a while when they were cooking.

Further, 38.7 per cent of the respondents said no emergency numbers were posted near the phone or somewhere noticeable at home in case of fire.

Ms Ho said the findings showed that fire-safety awareness was low in the community.

She called on the government to step up its efforts on education and to subsidise low-income families to install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in their homes.

Ms Ho said such measures could save lives if a fire occurred.



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