Fire safety drills at offices, not in residential areas

Fire men, Karnataka Civil Defence Corps and other civilians participated in Walkathon, to create awareness on Fire accidents as the part of National Fire Service Week, organised by Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services starts at Cubbon Park to KSFES

Rising fire accidents in the city have sparked severe safety concerns among Bengalureans, many of whom live in highrises with questionable firefighting capabilities.

Spontaneous combustions, gas leakage, oil spill or negligence... Fire can be sparked by any means and spreads fast, destroying everything that comes in its way. Many newly built residential apartments do have fire exits and fire extinguishers. But this is not the norm.

Several offices have now started training their employees to fight fire accidents, check their extinguishers and fire alarms regularly to avoid accidents. However, the same cannot be said about residential buildings. Inmates are not aware of how the firefighting tools are used properly.

Containing fire is essential to minimise casualties and reduce loss of property. But are we, as a city, prepared to fight fire accidents? DH talks to a cross-section of Bengalureans to find out.

Ramya B, a resident of Hulimavu and an IT employee, says: “Fire accidents are very scary and lead to many casualties, but it is the attitude with which we tackle the incident that matters. People do not know how to address such a scenario. They usually panic a lot, causing a lot of confusion. This causes more harm.”

She points out that her building has a fire escape and fire extinguishers installed at different locations. “There are fire alarms as well. But there is no training for the same in the apartments. However, at my workplace, we are given mock training to tackle fire accidents. Residents in apartments are ignorant about even using an extinguisher.”

Shreyas Jadhav of Rajarajeshwari Nagar notes that offices make it a point to give a general training on using fire extinguishers and some first aids as well. “Residential buildings make it a point to install fire extinguishers. But they do not bother to train their residents, or do regular checks on the equipment,” he points out.

“We should not just train people in the office, but make it a point to train even school and college kids on how to help people in such situations. That will reduce the number of casualties at least,”Jadhav adds.

But what triggers such random fires? Lakshmi M, an ex-IT employee and a resident of JP Nagar explains: “People don’t dispose of their ‘inflammable’ material properly. Negligence like these can spark a fire. I have been trained at work to use fire extinguishers. But generally, we are not very well prepared to fight fire accidents.”

The best way, then, would be to take adequate precautions. “We should concentrate on how to avoid fire accidents altogether. After all, prevention is better than cure.”

On the immediate measures to be take in case of a fire accident, Kapil Mutalik, a resident of Kengeri and an IT employee, says: “We have been trained at our workplace to be prepared for an accident like this. We are given mock trails at regular intervals, and that helps us be prepared.”

He says that it is important that we judge the severity of the fire and evacuate the vicinity first. “In case of a massive fire, extinguishers must be used to try and reduce the damage till the firefighters arrive at the spot. Our building is fire ready, as there are regular checks on the alarm system and the fire extinguishers are replaced at regular intervals.”

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Fire safety drills at offices, not in residential areas

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