Why fire accidents are not taken serious in India?

by Madhvi Bansal
fire accident

India’s cities whether in east or west are sitting around a bonfire of regulations, basic tenets of urban planning and precious human lives. The Gujarat’s Surat Fire is the latest reminder, where in a massive fire covered a four-storey commercial complex in  Surat. The fire accident has taken away life of 22 teenage students at a coaching centre, many of whom jumped and fell to their deaths while some were suffocated. Fire safety is always a concern in India. Majority of the population do not emphasize on being proactive. Most of us are still not aware of the fire hazards or don’t even know how to react when there is a fire. 

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According to National Crime Records Bureau figures, 17,700 Indians died – 48 people every day – due to fire accidents in 2018. Maharashtra and Gujarat, besides been the highest urbanised states, account for about 30% of the country’s fire accident deaths. 

Common Causes of fire accidents

  • Electrical short-circuit – Faulty electrical system and malfunctioning circuit breakers are one of the leading causes of electrical fires.
  • Kitchen fires due to unattended cooking or LPG and microwaves
  • Intentional fires like arson
  • Careless smokin
  • Children playing with matchsticks and candles

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 How to prevent fire?

  1. Fire safety system – Everybuiding must have a fire safety system like a fire extinguisher, smoke alarms, sprinklers, hydrants, etc, to ensures all the essential resource  in case of a fire accident. 
  2. Evacuation Challenges: Evacuation takes a lot of time as the inmates have to be brought to safe areas slowly and through fire exits and stairways
  3. Compliance with fire safety laws – Fire safety  rules are compliance to protect people and property, but indians are not well aware of safety laws. 
  4. Fire drills – People need to be aware about their responsibility in case of fire, fire drills will help to prepared and educate every individual of their responsibility. It would make everyone familiar with the sound of smoke alarm, the numbers to dial and exit routes. 
  5. Challenges for fire fighters during emergencies: because of the lack of awareness, occupants do not know how to escape in the wake of an emergency. 
  6. Regular inspection & safety audit – Fire safety does not end with installing fire safety equipment, there has to be a regular inspection. 

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Mere post-incident sound bytes from the politicians and law enforcement agencies won’t help this issue, we all need to create awareness about Fire Accident Behavoiur.