“Ignorance of law is no excuse” is a very common phrase. If you break a law, even unknowingly, and are liable for prosecution, the arresting officer will say those words as he handcuffs you. But you may get off with a light sentence or some imprisonment considering it is a minor crime, but ignorance of basic fire safety has a stricter punishment, possibly death sentence. Don’t believe me? Well read on….
The National Crime Records Bureau points out that “More than two lakh lives were lost during the last decade due to fire accidents in India only!” The foremost cause of these fatalities is unawareness, ignorance, and lack of training.
See! Didn’t I tell you?
Let this write-up do you a big favour. Let it point out a few tips about fire safety that you ought to know, but probably didn’t. And a big salute to those who know, because that in itself is no small feat.
Firstly, in any enclosed premises-commercial or residential-The installation of a fire detection system is a must. In fact, it is mandatory in industries all over the globe.
Secondly, in a commercial establishment staff training on fire safety basics is another step that can be a lifesaver in desperate situations. How to use a fire extinguisher, how to access the closest exit route in case of fire and also, how to save others who may be trapped along with you. Various fire safety professionals and bodies conduct such trainings regularly in their respective areas for common people.
Thirdly, the fire escape route to evacuate the people at a safe place should always be designed by experts. The route should have clear indications and a well-lit vision. To achieve this, emergency lights, that come on instantly when power fails and darkness sets in, are the first helping hand, others being photoluminescent signages and route indicators that clearly show the nearest exit from any given point in the premises.
It is vital to know your extinguisher well. An inappropriate type of fire extinguisher can be a fatal risk during the process of extinguishing a fire.
For different classes of fire different types of extinguisher should be used. For Class B fire (fire from inflammable liquids), for example or from an electricity ignited shock or explosion, a particular type extinguisher is required. The use of carbon dioxide extinguisher on chemical fire results in a violent explosion. Hence, an extinguisher should be installed according to the workplace environment for fireplace safety.
Signages too need to be specific and accurate. Fire safety signs should contain clear and bright coloured pictures so that even a person of poor vision can see and comprehend the message easily. Pictures should be preferred over languages so that a person not knowing that particular language is able understand the message.
Don’t store inflammable materials for longer than necessary. Avoid overloading plug sockets. This could cause a short circuit, which is a very common reason for fire accidents. Store safety equipment properly. Corroded fire extinguishers are dangerous and may explode, hence consistent periodical maintenance of safety equipment is very important.
Also, locations and equipment need accompanying luminous signs which can alert people in blackout or pitch darkness as to where the extinguisher is or where the nearest door or window is.
Congratulations, you are now aware of bare basics and ready to transform your environment into a fire safe one. But then, a stitch in time saves nine and implementation of the above guidelines can save many more precious lives. So do not hesitate, do it now because you know how.