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Firefighting equipment not just for display, make them work

  • Sun, 11 Feb 2018 06:49
Last year ended on a grave note when a Mumbai terrace-top pub was engulfed in fire. More than 14 people were charred to death and several injured in the blaze. Investigations concluded that the place did not have any fire safety measure in place.

The heat of those deadly flames is now felt across Bengaluru, with fire safety measures being scrutinised in restaurants, apartments, schools and malls across the city.

Bengalureans agree that fire safety has never been taken seriously in the city. They feel the tragic Carlton Towers fire back in 2010 should have been a turning point. But sadly, it was not. "I still remember how everyone was shocked when the tragedy struck. It was disturbing. But nothing concrete happened after that. The fire must have jolted the agencies, but nothing has been done," observes Mahesh Kumar, a businessman.

"There was a fire accident in January as well. Restaurant staff died in that accident. What was the BBMP doing? And this accident happened after the Mumbai tragedy. These agencies will not wake up, no matter what," says Kumar, referring to an accident in Kalasipalya on January 8 this year.

The fire had broken out at the Kailash bar and restaurant located on the ground floor of Kumbaara Sangha building. Five workers who were sleeping inside the restaurant died in that accident.

Usha, a city school teacher believes that the only way to avoid these tragedies is by educating the people in the right way. "The least the agencies can do is set up fire exits. I wont be shocked if places that are not fire-safe are given NOC by the BBMP. We should know how to react if trapped in a fire," she says.

Usha emphasises the need to spread critical information on the mishap. "Time and again, we have seen that more deaths are caused by asphyxiation than by actual burns. This little detail may save so many lives if people knew about it," notes Usha.

Usha is convinced that the mock drills in schools, apartments and other places in the city are not up to the mark. They are not good enough to save lives. "Fire personnel do visit schools and show the whole drill. But this will not be useful if students in a school are not given regular mock drills."

Homemaker, Pushpa Mohan says the rise in fire accidents has made her edgy about visiting crowded places. "The apartment complex we live in is decent. There is a fire exit right next to my flat. But I have no idea how it will be in case of an accident. We have never had a fire drill here," she admits.

Safety in city malls, she says, is not good enough. "Garuda mall is my familys favourite place to watch a movie or shop. But since the last few visits, I noticed that the fire exits are very confusing. If I am on the top floors it only gets scarier. I have asked my daughter to meet her friends in open spaces rather than these malls," says the mother of a 17-year-old.

She agrees the anxiety may be too much, but fire safety concerns and awareness is always on her mind. "The recent car fire in a flat was also scary. If only the residents knew how to handle a fire, they need not have waited for the firemen to arrive. They may even have saved the lives of the mother and child," adds Pushpa.

Bengalureans agree that awareness and first-aid in case of fire is of utmost importance. "People must know how to react. The harm caused by fire may not be as much as due to stampede or suffocation. The golden hour must be utilized which can be done only with awareness," elaborates Seema Khan, an interior designer.

Deccan Herald - City

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