Sunday , November 29 2020

Significantly fewer than one type of fire in Oslo. Maybe because of the life that many live now.

The updated fire figures for Oslo have created amazement within the fire service. Has increased use of the home office contributed to fewer fires starting in kitchens?

This photo was taken after a fire broke out in a kitchen in Oslo. Since March, there have been fewer fires in the capital. Photo: Audun Braastad / Oslo Fire and Rescue Service

It’s not without reason that firefighters have their voices in March, when many move their jobs home.

Doesn’t increased cooking and a greater load on the grid increase the risk of fire? Therefore, the fire service in Oslo is prepared for more house fires.

However, the opposite happened. And there is one cause of the fires in particular that has helped bring down the numbers. Fewer fires occur on or on stoves in kitchens.

– In March we sat and thought: What’s going on now? But when we find out today how life was going to be during these months, it may not be too surprising that there are fewer such fires, said Sigurd Folgerø Dalen.

He is a fire inspector and acting information manager at the Oslo Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire inspector and managing information manager Sigurd Folgerø Dalen at the Fire and Rescue Service in Oslo. Photo: Lars Magne Hovtun / Oslo Fire and Rescue Service

First and foremost, the Oslo trend

Nationally, the effect on statistics is not large. But in Oslo – where most people have probably moved their work home – it is possible to talk about a trend.

In the first ten months of 2019, there were 35 large building fires in Oslo that started with food or objects on or on the stove. During the same period this year, there were 16 similar fires.

– This is a significant drop, and it’s positive. But the question is what is the reason, says Folgerø Dalen.

The percentage of stove fires at all hotspots shows a clearer trend. In 2019, they accounted for 11.8 percent of the fires. This year, the share fell to 5.5 percent. What happened?

– I think these numbers tell us a little about how important a balanced and less stressful life is for fire safety.

Point to two reasons for the decline

The fire service believes that the decline may be due to the life pattern created by the corona. Perhaps in the capital city this pattern changes the most for most people. In any case, this is where we see the biggest changes in fire types. Two reasons are highlighted:

  • Headquarters has reduced daily stress. Time limits are no longer that strict.
  • Fewer people come home drunk late at night and use the stove to cook their evening meals.

– The calmness and timing of the creation of the corona have caused many to live a more fire-resistant life, concludes Folgerø Dalen.

However, the high proportion of fires of unknown cause is an uncertainty. These numbers may hide the cases where stoves were the culprit this year, but not last year.

– Therefore, the reasons for the decline are based a bit on speculation, but we can still vouch for the judgment we made on this, said Folgerø Dalen.

Also has less incidence with dry cooking

This development was also reinforced by a pure dry cooking program that had not yet developed into full fire. There were 339 cases so far this year, compared with 467 cases last year.

It’s about the heat, the smoke from the pans and pans or anything else that causes massive smoke buildup and triggers an alarm.

– The difference between dry cooking and building fire is where the fire from the stove spreads to other parts of the kitchen and the building, explains Folgerø Dalen.

He also reminded how important it is to have a smoke alarm close to the kitchen. This way, smoke developments can be notified as early as possible.

Wish it had changed attitudes

But firefighters in Oslo are still excited about the end of the year. Does this trend continue into the New Year? December is usually one of the worst months for fires. Firefighters aren’t sure what Christmas will be like this year.

– It is not easy to say how corona wear and insulation will affect the number of fires. Here, there are variables that we firefighters also cannot control.

Another uncertain factor is what will happen when society returns to normal. Will the numbers return to levels in 2019?

– There’s a risk of going up again. At the same time, we can hope that this period has shaped some of the attitudes that people have taken with them.

This fire at Østensjø in Oslo started from a stove in the kitchen. An old woman escapes by going to the balcony. Photo: Lars Magne Hovtun / Oslo Fire and Rescue Service

But it burns just like in any other building

However, the decline in the number of fires starting in kitchens does not reflect the general development in Oslo.

The figure shows that there have been 89 fires, including in public places and commercial buildings, in the first ten months of this year. That’s six more than in the same period last year.

The fire department indicated that many still work in schools, kindergartens, in industry, in health and in other industries.

– There, maybe the load is bigger than usual. “This is probably one of the reasons why we haven’t experienced a downturn in that area,” said Sigurd Folgerø Dalen.

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