Ever since the fateful Kamala Mills and Bawana fire tragedy which claimed a lot of lives in the recent past, fire safety has become a pressing problem for India. Though there are policies that regulate the compliance of fire safety, the implementation and vigilance is a serious problem.
We have Part 4 of National Building Code (NBC) for buildings, prescribing the fire safety preparedness of a building. But, this is there only till the building gets occupancy certificates. After obtaining the certificate, there is no vigilance or inspection to check if a building continues to be compliant.
Fire poses a major risk to businesses and operations in India. According to the FICCI-Pinkerton, India Risk Survey 2018, fire ranks at the third position among the major risks for Indian businesses.
What has contributed to the surge of fire incidents in India?
In the last year’s survey fire was ranking at the fifth position. Now there is a sudden surge in the trend. What has caused this sudden upward trend of fire risks in India?
As per the FICCI – Pinkerton India Risk Survey 2018, these are the reasons for the increase in the fire risks:
- In 2018, there have been numerous fire incidents and there were significant losses of life and property
- There have been inspections across major cities in India, which revealed that there are many factories and high-rise buildings deviating the fire safety norms.
- To add to this, there is an acute shortage of resources in India with respect to manpower and, equipment for firefighting.
- There are bodies to regulate fire safety norms, but poor implementation and coordination between different government bodies continue to be a big challenge
- Electrical short circuits are rated as the common cause of the fire
- In Mumbai, there is a 25-30% dip in footfalls and business. This is mainly because of the rise in fire incidents post-Kamala Mills tragedy in which 14 were killed. There have been 12 major incidents since Kamala Mills accident in Mumbai.
- Since fire risk is increasing at an alarming rate, many citizen groups and corporate alliances have stepped forward to create fire safety awareness which will eventually improve fire safety in India.
There are many instances of random inspections by the fire departments or the corporation or municipal bodies this year. But if the violators are not penalized any significant improvement in the risk will be a distant dream.
Realizing the gravity of the situation in our country many welfare associations and citizen groups like Beyond Carlton, are striving to create fire safety awareness and bring forth proper implementation methodologies (For Example The city-specific fire safety blueprint for Bengaluru) that can help to make our country fire safe.