UPHAAR 1997 to AMRI 2011, the question remains – are we equipped to fight fire? These two disasters – one at the Uphaar cinema hall in Delhi and the other at a hospital in Kolkata – can be categorized as the worst ever tragedies that could have certainly been avoided.
Just as I was about to come to terms in the wake of the December 9 Kolkata hospital fire that killed over 90 critical patients and was shockingly realizing how people could be asphyxiated even at super specialty places, I happened to watch a news channel that spent hours on discussing the topic with big shots. The end result, as usual, was cipher.
They came and spoke and blamed one, blamed another, and another, and then another. That’s all they did till the end. And this is what happens every time there is a disaster. Let’s face it and accept it. We are not equipped to handle any such disasters. All these discussions on news channels will not help at all.
There are people who have started movements and are at least trying to do something. It’s as simple as this, that 99 % people don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher. Even if there is one at the venue, no one would know how to use it.
Why can’t we teach students in the schools itself and coach them how to fight fire and save people in case of an accident? As it is said we must catch them young, so in all schools these kind of classes should be made compulsory along with self-defence and other necessary precautions.
In a recent fire that we saw in our office, out of all the people eager to help, only one person actually knew how to use a fire extinguisher and the rest were running up and down for water. It’s sad but true. If only people were trained at grass root levels, we would not be blaming everyone and the traffic for delays and so many would have been alive instead of coming out dead with black faces.
And can you tell me if you are prepared to handle a fire at any place? Or do you know which number to dial to call fire tenders? I believe you would be able to answer me even as litigations over compensations and fixing responsibilities pile on and the TV debates go on.
The albatross will be around our necks, until then.