Apart from Good morning messages with very inspirational quotes, WhatsApp groups serve a lot of purpose than what meets eye. In one such conversation with my childhood friends on WhatsApp, a friend shared this picture (actually this marked the beginning of our conversation, an important one)
This conversation followed a fire incident that broke in a coaching center in Surat (Gujarat, India) claiming the lives of 21 students. Many students died while jumping from a two storey building to escape the fire. That was heartbreaking. It was the scare of fire that killed more than the fire itself. Lack of basic conformities and awareness as to how one should act in such tragic situations caused more damage. And that’s when I have decided that this is something which needs my, in fact, everyone’s attention as to Why, Who is responsible and How to do our bit to avoid or at least minimize the losses incurred.
Here’s a list of recent fatal fire accidents claiming lives of many and leaving charred memories for many more (all accidents happened in 2017):
- Kamala Mills – Mumbai – 14 lives claimed
- Plastic Factory – Ludhiana – 13 people (including 3 firemen) killed
- Snack Shop in Saki Naka – Mumbai – 21 lives crammed and charred together
- Rohini hospital – Telangana – 2 lives claimed
- Scrap market – Kota – 2 killed and 15 severely injured
- Cracker Shop – Rourkela – 1 killed and three injured
- Illegal cracker unit – Jharkhand – 6 killed and 11 injured
And then there are incidents exclusively where the property loss is humungous. This is a pity picture which requires a lot of introspection – Who is responsible for this after all?
Electricity short circuit is the most prominent reason behind the majority of fire accidents. Cylinders or explosives going off comes next in line followed by other miscellaneous reasons that normally don’t find any mention in the list of reasons. But does it absolve the “human hand” completely of its responsibility? The reason that was mentioned above are the ones that are apparent but the responsibility completely rests with people.
Non-compliance with the fire security rules, illegal constructions – squeezing and cramming of buildings in small spaces, No up-gradation / maintenance of fire fighting systems with time to keep them in working condition, No proper fire drills to the staff in offices. Basically many “NO“s.
And the reason behind every “NO” that I have mentioned above is Greed and carelessness. People want to save every possible penny they could even if it means putting their and others’ lives at risk. Complying to rules, training, purchase of requisite material everything involves cost and it’s something that’s loathed. The greed to make quick and more money is the mother of illegal constructions, skyrocketing matchboxes (read apartments) where safety measures barely or rarely exist. And the basic attitude of “Jab hoga toh dekh lenge” (we will see when it happens) is something that must be done away with. “If caught for non-compliance we will pay something and buy our freedom” something that lingers on the mind (read habit) but not for once people plan future (in reference to fire accidents) with an apprehensive approach that we need to be careful and prepared for the worse. And this approach is not just of the people coming from lower strata of the society with no awareness. But people with many sources of awareness at their disposal wait for the worse to happen before they realise and awaken.
Even with all the possible measures are taken unimaginable can happen, no denying to that. But we lack the basic awareness to plan an escape in such situations (the first photo proves the same). Probably because of not much attention given to this subject. Parents and schools are constantly busy in ensuring that their children score highest possible grades and they don’t miss extracurricular activities too but subjects concerning their safety and security, be it self defense or otherwise (escape plans in case of accidents like that of fire) are of trivial to no importance for them. Hence no place in the curriculum, not even a chapter, workshops are a distant dream. Companies/ industries are busy improving their profit margin every quarter whereas both employee appraisals (😁) and safety are not in compliance to their policies. Can you tell me when was the last time you had a fire drill in your office?
A photo doing rounds on Facebook. This is what I was talking about – carelessness and a bid to save a few bucks people are risking their lives.
These things seem inconsequential or immaterial but should definitely be a part of learning at different stages. If we are paying for fire insurance for our properties then some heed must be paid towards the safety of our lives too, isn’t it? Talk about the safety measures to near and dear ones including children, use the social platform to spread a word, check if builders are completely complying to fire security regulations before moving in, yourself adhere strictly to all the regulations for safety, electricity conformity is a must for every housing unit. These are a few things in a bird’s eye view.
Remember: Your Life Isn’t A Business To Risk It. Read, Talk and Spread the word for Awareness is the only key.