Your Safety Lies In Your Hands

fire-in-vasant-kunj

Fire Breaks Out In Delhi’s Vasant Kunj

Friday morning brought with it the news of a huge fire in Masoodpur area of Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. While officials haven’t been able to determine the cause of the fire, local residents believe that it was caused by a gas cylinder burst.

I immediately called my friend who stays only a couple of blocks away from Masoodpur area to check if everything and she was alright. Thankfully she is, but the entire locality is in smokes she said.

However, what’s bothering me is my other friend’s reaction. When I told her about the fire and asked her to watch the news she said, “Yeh toh roz ki baat hai yaar. Nothing new.” (Such incidents happen every day.)

Although I am not a big fan of her chalta hai (let it be) attitude, this statement of hers got me thinking that there are many people who think like her and just skim through such headlines without understanding the severity of the matter. You will be surprised to know that in the year 2012, Delhi witnessed over 22, 700 cases of fire. According to the statistics recorded by the Delhi Fire services, they received 22,786 calls in the year 2011-2012, in comparison to 22, 187 in 2010-2011.

Not to mention that the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in their 2012 India Risk Survey state that fire is one of the major risks that affect the various sectors in our country—business, infrastructure, manufacturing and Information Technology.

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Risk-in-IT-Recovered

Fire hazards in India are a common threat to establishments across sectors and regions resulting in loss of lives and property. In most cases, says the FICCI report, investigations reveal that the fire was a result of negligence. After the fire accident in Kolkata’s AMRI hospital in the year 2011, fire authorities conducted audits in various hospitals across the country, in which it was revealed that more than half the hospitals in Delhi lack fire prevention measures. The same is the case in high rise buildings. According to the FICCI report around 60 percent high rise buildings in Gurgaon have not renewed their no-objection certificate from the fire department. FICCI report states that most buildings do not adhere to fire prevention measures as described under the National Building Code of India for they do not care about getting no-objection certificates from concerned authorities, as it does not entail any major penalty.

But the question here is what is it that causes fire?

In response to a right to information (RTI) plea filed, Mumbai’s fire department says that electrical short circuit and careless disposal of cigarettes and matches, flames from stoves and candles, firecrackers and  overheating gadgets are some of the main causes of a huge fire.

Solution

Well aware of the risk of fire, many corporate organisations and schools conduct mock drills in association with the local fire departments, to train their employees and students. But as they say prevention is better than the cure. So here are some basic guidelines that one should keep in mind be it at home or in the work place

  • Fit smoke alarms and make sure you test them on a regular basis and change batteries annually.
  • Chip-pan fires are the most frequent type of fire – take care and never leave the stove unattended.
  • Always use a proper candleholder, and keep candles away from flammable items.
  • Keep portable heaters away from furniture and flammable items, and switch them off every time you leave the house.
  • Buy a fixed fire guard to place around an open fire.
  • Don’t use a hot or sparking power tool, and don’t leave a soldering iron on and unattended.
  • At night, before you go to bed, unplug all electrical items that are not in use.
  • Always use rated fuses in all electrical appliances.
  • Avoid using multi-way plug socket adapters, if possible.
  • Never run electrical cables/leads under carpets.

Always remember—your personal safety lies is in your hands!

Shraddha Jandial

Would you like to add any preventive measures to the list? Write your opinion in the comment box below.

Image Source [http://images.indianexpress.com/2014/04/fire-m.jpg?w=450]