ALL pre-war shops with electrical wiring more than 10 years old should rewire their premises as the insulation may be damaged or worn off, which can lead to fires.
Fire Rescue Department Assistant Commissioner Wan Mohammad Zaidi Wan Isa said property owners must obtain the services of a licensed wireman to do the rewiring job.
“Almost all fires at old pre-war shops could have been prevented if the owners had rewired their buildings.
“They should hire a reputable, trained and licensed wireman to inspect the wiring work.
“Electrical wiring is not meant to last forever, so if the shoplots are from pre-war days, it is long overdue for rewiring,” he said.
Wan Mohammad said another cause for fires was overloading.
“Most times overloading happens when shopowners plug too many appliances into the same socket or have multiple extension cords.
“Wires get heated up and fire occurs,” he said.
He said shopowners should install smoke detectors.
“Double-storey pre-war shophouses that have a bigger space must at least have five smoke detectors that cover the first floor and ground floor.
“Smoke detectors will alert the occupants and give around three minutes’ escape time,” he said.
He added that fire extinguishers was a must for all buildings as it would help to put out small fires and create a path to escape a fire.
Wan Mohammad said occupants in shoplots must remove all items that blocked the path of the staircase.
“Some owners stack old newspapers, boxes and plastic materials thus hampering quick movement when a fire occurs.
“We also urge people to keep the keys of the grille or doors in an easily accessible place for them quickly to escape a fire,” he said.