FIRE – better ways to deal with it

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.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. I work in coordination with the Safety Department in my plant, and it is really disappointing to see people’s attitude towards it. The most common statement is ……..’Kuch nahin hoga’
    And when it happens, I agree with Ashish …………. more than half the people dont know what to do. They don’t even know how to panic.

  2. Prevention Is Better Than Cure! The sooner we realize this, the better world we’ll start living in. Thanks for touching this very very important issue, more so when I am informed that in India’s national capital Delhi there are only 2,500 firemen to tackle fire or any fire-related emergency.

    Hold on. Shockingly even the fire department’s website has not been updated for more than a year, now. Our public transport and even the schools need to have proper fire safety measures to continue to enjoy the status ‘no objection’ from the authorities, but it’s no secret how serious they are to our safety and our children’s lives. A kind of movement like ‘Prevent Fire’ must begin. It’s time & I’m happy you’ve taken The Initiative.

  3. Kiran says:

    The two Fire tragedies mentioned were extremely unfortunate and avoidable. It is indeed a good suggestion to educate school children and make it a mandatory part of First Aid training . Speaking of which, training adults working in Hospitals, hotels, folks who work in offices etc will help tremendously. Most importantly, we need to make an appeal to the Govt. to make it a policy (required by Law) to bring Fire precautionary devices, fire exits, emergency elevators etc. in ALL buildings, residential and commercial. Education is the key. Awareness of what is a potential fire hazard, how to prevent it and in case of an occurrence, how to deal with it, should be imperative. We most definitely need a public service system in place to make ambulances and medical care available within minutes of the accident. It’s all a vicious circle, a domino effect, and it’s about time we start somewhere …

  4. Ashish Kaul says:

    Its true that half the people don’t know what to do when there is fire.Recently I was able to help extinguish fire just in time at two places.Only because in school I was taught, how to deal with a fire.We were trained to deal with fire fighting jungle fires too.I suppose its an individual choice what one wants to teach their children.I suggest one should at least make their children aware of choices to make in school.Lets not blame corruption in it.Lets just do ones own thing.The feeling of it will not happen to me ,sooner it gets over the better and safer you would be.

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