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How to Prevent Fire Outbreaks in High-Risk Buildings—Eaton



high-risk buildings

By Adedapo Adesanya

A top power management company, Eaton, has provided some pointers that can help prevent fire outbreaks in high-risk buildings which have increased in the last year.

According to Kunmi Odunoku, Marketing Manager for Eaton in West Africa, demographic changes mean that “we are building larger, taller, and more complex buildings to live, work and spend our leisure time in.”

While it is true that fire safety has improved with the installation of devices such as smoke detectors and alarms, the impact of a fire is now potentially far more serious than it has ever been.

According to Odunoku, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to fire prevention, suppression or evacuation, a thorough risk assessment issued on a case-by-case basis will suggest appropriate measures to be taken.

“It is no longer good enough to hide behind regulations or standards, which should be seen as a minimum requirement. Building owners and developers should hold themselves to a higher standard of safety and do more to prevent a tragedy in high-risk buildings,” the senior company official said.

Incidents such as the recent fire outbreak under the Eko bridge reinforce how infernos can result in serious damage or worse – the loss of life. Such incidents often result in reputational damage for the organizations and individuals involved that may escalate to a clamour for those responsible to face charges of corporate liability or manslaughter in the case of loss of properties or lives.

Regardless of the reputational risk, it is surely the moral responsibility of building owners and operators to ensure that modern buildings housing hundreds or even thousands of people are safe for the occupants.

“One problem building occupants face is understanding who is responsible for their safety, and in this, there is a danger of simply avoiding the issue. So, to be clear I believe that building owners or operators must ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place.

“Simply adhering to standard building regulations is not a sufficient safety measure,” Odunoku stated.

In a recent study, FM Global found that 70 per cent of business owners feel that following building regulations will protect their property, as the organization points out “this is simply not their purpose”.

Such an approach takes no account of the different risks faced in different types of buildings or by different occupants.  The only sensible approach to take is to conduct a thorough risk assessment of the building and then implement appropriate safeguards.

Changing the nature of risk

The nature of fire risks in buildings changes as our society changes.  By 2050 the UN estimates that two-thirds of people will be urbanites living, working, and spending leisure time in buildings designed to hold hundreds if not thousands of people.

This means we will increasingly build upwards. There are already a staggering number of buildings in cities around the world that are over 100 meters tall.  As buildings get taller the number of mixed-use buildings will also rise rapidly. Typically, in taller mixed-use buildings, the lower floors house shops and restaurants while the upper floors are reserved for residential purposes.  This means that due to the nature of the use, lower floors are unoccupied and unsupervised in the middle of the night, while those people on higher floors could well be asleep should the worst happen.

Risk assessment

There is no single answer to mitigating the risks of a fire in a building and for high-risk buildings, the regulations are simply not enough. We advocate a three-step process to help ensure ongoing safety:

  1. Identify the specific risks in your building. You may decide to employ or engage experts to do the risk assessment.
  2. Select and design systems and solutions addressing the specific risks identified.
  3. Test and review these solutions regularly especially if there are changes to building use.

Having conducted a thorough risk assessment, you can then make an informed choice on what action to take.  Breaking this down further you need to think about prevention, controlling a fire, detection, and how you will alert occupants and evacuate or guide people away from danger.

While education and technology can help prevent the worst from happening as The Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat observes: “The only true way to stop a fire from happening is to remove the humans and the combustible materials from buildings.  You can apply good fire safety education and management, but, fires start, what happens next is what matters.”

Preventing a fire is about building design, such as compartmentation to help prevent or slow down the spread and also installing technology such as sprinkler systems.  Sadly, too many developers and building owners dismiss sprinklers as not cost-effective and prefer to spend their money on air-conditioning or intelligent lighting systems.

Alerting and evacuating

If the fire does spread, there is generally a short window to alert and evacuate building occupants.  This is made even more complicated if people are asleep or are disabled and are not aware of an alert or need assistance.

There is a lot of technology available to alert building occupants and instruct them or guide them to safety.  The important thing is to be aware of such technology or employ someone who can advise you appropriately and above all not cut corners to save cost. While we hope that it never happens to us, a fire in a complex building could be catastrophic if you do not plan properly. It is time to take fire safety seriously so that people do not lose their homes, places of work or worse their lives.  If you are a building owner, it is your moral duty to do all that you can.

Eaton has teamed up with several fire safety organizations from around the world to produce a whitepaper called “Fire Safety in High-Risk Buildings – preventing the next tragedy.”  You can download it from Eaton’s website.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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IGP Authorises Stop & Search, Raids, Others to Tackle Crime



IGP alkali Tinted Permits

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of adequate security around schools, hospitals, and critical national infrastructures across the country.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said the IGP has also ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality in some states of the federation.

“The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of water-tight security arrangements to cover all schools, hospitals, health workers, and critical national infrastructures around the country,” the statement added.

“The IGP has equally ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids, and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality recorded in some states of the federation,” it further said.

Mr Baba gave the directive while reviewing the reports he received from various commands and formations on the general security situations across the country.

He tasked strategic police managers at various levels to prioritize the use of intelligence gathering networks while charging officers and men of the force to take the fight against crime to the doorsteps of suspected criminal elements with a view to flushing them from their hideouts.

The IGP also called for the cooperation of members of the public, warning police officers to be civil, professional, and humane in the course of discharging their duties.

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SERAP Begs INEC to Allow 7 million Nigerians Complete Voter Registration



inec electoral bill

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow seven million Nigerians to complete their voter registration.

SERAP made the call in a statement on Sunday through its Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, warning that the failure of the electoral body to grant this request could attract legal action.

According to the rights group, INEC recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at physical centres.

SERAP believes that the right to vote is also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process so that it can be effectively exercised.

“The right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process, so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised,” the statement read.

“Closing the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and opportunity to complete their registration cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.

“Denying a significant number of eligible voters the time and opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs would impair the right to vote of those affected, deny them a voice in the 2023 elections, and lead to disparate and unfair treatment of these voters,” it submitted.

The organisation noted that, “According to a report released by INEC, out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 Nigerians representing 32.8 per cent, completed the process at a physical centre. 7,043,594 Nigerians carried out their pre-registration but are yet to complete the process at a physical centre.

“This represents over 67 per cent of those who began their registration process online.

“According to INEC, a total of 12,298,944 Nigerians completed their voter registration; 8,854,566 of which were persons who did their registration entirely at a physical centre.

“The over seven million Nigerians have already completed their registration online, that is, via INEC online portal by providing their biodata and required documents.”

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FG Threatens CCECC Over Drawback in Rail Contract



CCECC China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has threatened to sanction the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for not meeting up with the agreement of providing 85 per cent of rail project costs in a move that could signify friction.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Mu’azu Sambo, at the inspection of the Lekki Deep Seaport on Saturday in Lagos.

According to Mr Sambo, the projects are the Kano-Kaduna and the Maiduguri-Port Harcourt rail lines.

“The CCECC has not brought anything to the table. I gave them a deadline which is October 30, if I don’t get that money on the ground, I know what to advise Mr President to do,” he said.

He expressed satisfaction with the Lekki Deep Seaport project, noting that the initiatives were to ensure the smooth evacuation of cargo at the port.

He said that for part-time, the road was being expanded, adding that the government was looking into it, and for medium-term, barges would take care of it.

“I am impressed and happy to be back here. This we know is the pride of all Nigerians, the first deep seaport in West Africa that will take the largest ship in the world has 16.5 meters deep, and will give us hundreds and thousands of jobs.

“Almost automated not fully but automated enough to make life easy for port operations.

“It is initiatives like this we want to encourage, that is why I did not hesitate when I came to the ministry and I saw a proposal of the Badagry Deep Seaport sitting on my table and took it immediately for approval.

“Also, the president is concerned about cargo evacuation at the port and does not want a repeat of the Apapa and TinCan port and so we cannot rely on the road alone which is not the best option.

“There is a need to sit down with stakeholders to see how to tackle this,” he said.

He pointed out that cargo evacuation was not just within the port but outside the port, as goods must reach the final destination.

“First of all, you save a lot of time at the port because of automation and modern technology and equipment.

“After the port what happens, it only makes sense when the goods get to the shipper or owner. And to do that, you need to move either by rail, water, or road,” he said.

Mr Sambo urged the management of the port to employ as many Nigerians as possible as this was the only way citizens could put food on the table for their families.

On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, noted that the Lekki Deep Seaport was one of the first solutions to reducing traffic at Apapa and TinCan.

According to Mr Bello-Koko, the automation deployed at the port is commendable and fantastic as the processes will be free of human interference.

He said that the Apapa and TinCan port would still be viable, adding that what they had done was to create alternatives for importers and exporters as to where they would decide to do business.

“The operators of those ports should also up their game, and improve their speed in terms of cargo clearance or otherwise.

“Feasibility studies have shown that these ports will still be viable in future like 10, 15 years, the government can decide to turn some of these ports into a real estate, we have some of them in Europe,” Mr Bello-Koko said.

Mr Du Ruogang, the Managing Director, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Ltd. (Lekki Port), said that the port was 95 per cent completed, adding that they would meet the targeted time.

Mr Ruogang appreciated the NPA for deploying marine services such as tug, pilot, lines, boats and harbour master before the operations of the port.

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