Meet the 25-year-old Sathvika Gupta from Telangana, who is fighting to bring about a lot of changes in safety. Here’s an inspiring conversation that we had with her:
What made you choose this field?
“My father is basically in this field of firefighting, this interested me. This also pushed me further into total safety. I am certified by the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) of the British Safety Council. In fact, I am the first woman to do that in Asia. I did my fire safety management at Cambridge University and got placed in the Government of London. I worked there as a Health and Safety Officer in a government hospital. Now, I have been working closely with the Government of Telangana.”
How do you the situation here? What is your observation about India and safety?
“It is so obvious that we are very backward in terms of fire safety, or safety for that matter. We are very reckless when it comes to safety, do you think we really care for our own safety? I don’t think so.
I feel now, at least at these times, COVID has proven that life comes first. Property or your shop or anything is secondary. I’m happy about this one single thing people would look at safety in a different way from now on. Otherwise, a safety officer is a joke for them!”
What do you think would bring about a change in this mindset?
“I think we need more awareness. Also, the government of India should implement more agile rules and regulations. For example, in the case of industries, until and unless people are made to give more compensation to the victims/ survivors of a fire accident none of the companies would come together and think about safety. I have seen here in many companies there is no proper safety officer, even if there is one, he will not be trained properly. In many places, they don’t have properly educated staff to train others.
We should bring a system altogether, then only we can think about change.”
How do you think women safety professionals are treated?
“Women in this field are treated like jokers. Especially, a young girl like me. I started educating myself in this field from the age of 14, right now I have seven certifications and 2 postgraduate degrees. In the field of safety, we have to audit and point out the discrepancies. The attitude to belittle or sideline is more than adapting to the recommendations.”
What are your points for young women who aspire to become safety professionals?
“Safety is like wine. I’ll tell you why, in every career, only in safety the more you age you will get to learn a lot from every case. The practical experience gives you a lot of respect and there is no retirement.
With the more young population, as an upcoming developing country, we need more people to work in India and bring changes in India.”
You went abroad to educate yourself as there aren’t any courses available here?
“The courses that are available in India are level 3 or 4 max, for safety. I couldn’t upgrade myself further as there were no courses available, I had to go abroad to study more about safety. I’m equipped with about 200 different safety, where we deal with safety in-depth. If you take light, for example, I can tell you the effects of lighting on your retina and how you should take it in terms of safety. Here we don’t have courses so in-depth.”
At the age of 25, what Sathvika is set for is remarkable. We need more people to take her as an inspiration and more people to come forward and educate themselves in the field of safety.
She’s our #firechampion!