More than 2500 fires in Syria’s northwestern region in 2023

Syria Civil Defense teams extinguish a fire in al-Bab city - June 3, 2022 (Enab Baladi/Siraj Mohammed)

Syria Civil Defense teams extinguish a fire in al-Bab city - June 3, 2022 (Enab Baladi/Siraj Mohammed)

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The Syria Civil Defense teams extinguished more than 2,670 fires in northwest Syria since the beginning of 2023.

The rescue organization stated to Enab Baladi on Thursday, December 21, that 700 fires had affected civilians’ homes, and around 200 fires had occurred in displacement camps.

These fires resulted in the death of 20 civilians, including 14 children and three women, and injured 124 civilians, of whom 31 were children and 28 were women.

Fires due to heating

The northwest regions of Syria witnessed an increase in the frequency of house fires during the winter due to residents’ use of unsuitable materials for heating.

The Civil Defense (The White Helmets) team mentioned that the higher incidence of fires exacerbates the suffering of camp residents and poses a threat to their lives, in addition to the difficulties associated with the winter season, such as floods, storms, snow, and cold weather.

Due to deteriorating living conditions, residents resort to lower-cost heating methods, leading to a rise in fire incidents caused by unsafe heating materials such as primitively treated fuel, plastic materials, and coal.

The Civil Defense also highlighted that the poor setup of electricity networks, solar energy, and power batteries in homes, as well as the rapid flammability of fabric and plastic tents, contribute to turning any electrical spark into a difficult-to-control disaster.

Recommendations and warnings

Raising awareness about safety measures plays a significant role in reducing fires. Therefore, the Civil Defense advises residents in the camps and homes to keep sources of fire and fuel away from children and to separate solar panels from batteries during storms.

The Civil Defense warned against using household gas for heating and water heating in poorly ventilated, cramped rooms and bathrooms, which can cause suffocation and fires.

The team emphasized the importance of ensuring and regularly checking electrical connections, especially those of electric heaters, and maintaining constant room ventilation when using gas heaters.

Additionally, it advised against lighting fires near tents and to immediately inform the Syria Civil Defense teams of any fire, no matter how small.

Awareness campaigns

The Civil Defense teams are conducting awareness campaigns on fire safety measures to reduce their occurrence and minimize their impact on individuals and properties. These campaigns aim to disseminate concepts of security and safety and the correct ways of using heating methods of all kinds.

The campaigns also include training to educate individuals in the northwest regions of Syria on how to deal with fires from their onset, targeting those capable of dealing with fires, such as workers, teachers, protection officials in facilities and camps, and fuel station workers.

The training includes theoretical information about fires and their causes, proper evacuation procedures in case of fires, practical training on how to use hand fire extinguishers, and live exercises on gas cylinder fires and flammable liquid fires.

 

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