8 years ago, a gruesome inferno in Carlton Towers claimed the lives of 9. In remembrance of those who lost their lives, the Beyond Carlton memorial lecture was conducted on 17 February 2018 in TERI Indiranagar, Bangalore.
The Beyond Carlton Memorial Lecture has been around for the past few years and has so far featured speakers like Swati Ramanathan, Co-founder Janagraha; R.A.Venkitachalam, Managing Director of UL – the US-based Underwriters Laboratories that works on fire safety issues; Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament; V Ravichandar, civic evangelist; Justice Santosh Hegde, former Lok Ayukta; and Nitin Pai, Co-Founder, Takshashila Institution.
Like every year, this year, Member of Parliament and IIM Professor Prof. Rajeev Gowda delivered an expansive vision of ‘Regulation of Risk’ to the audience, asking probing questions such as
- Why do societies tolerate certain risks and actively reject others?
- Are people rational in how they respond to risks?
- Do governments regulate risks appropriately?
- How and when does policy change occur?
Mr. Gowda also gave many examples of various events and accidents that occurred in different parts of the world and covered road accidents, nuclear fallouts, Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Uphaar Cinema Fire accident, etc.
Quoting some facts about Fire Accidents in India, Prof. Gowda talked about how a fire was killing an average of 49 people every day.
Mr. Dharamvir Singh, a fire superintendent working at the GMR Hyderabad Airpot and the man who saved 30 people trapped inside a burning building was awarded the Beyond Carlton Fire Champion of the year 2017.
In a conversation with Vasanthi Hariprakash, well-known media personality who is a member of Beyond Carlton’s Executive Council at a function held at TERI Indiranagar Bangalore on Saturday evening, Mr. Singh recounted the incidents of that day in June last year when he got a phone call from the Telangana fire force, that the building housing Anupama Hotel in Madhuranagar at Shamshabad, Telangana, had caught fire. Mr. Singh rushed to the spot to find the building was engulfed in smoke by the time the team reached and the fire department was running short of water. To help them fight the fire, Dharamvir using his presence of mind, quickly connected his vehicle’s water supply to that of the department.
“While the fire engines were outside the building I assessed the situation and told the men to follow my instructions carefully. We made our way to the top floor and asked the people to be calm. Luckily, the team that day all spoke Hindi, as I do not know to speak Telugu, as I originally belong to Haryana.”
The fire champion award is part of Beyond Carlton’s initiative to recognise and honour people who put their lives at risk to save others. It is a part of many efforts that the organisation has undertaken… including a PIL filed in the Karnataka High Court, thanks to which the officials of the fire dept now have the power to conduct an inspection of buildings to check for violations.
As has been the norm, trophies were given to firemen in Bengaluru identified by the department for the work done by them. The awardees this year were:
Prashanth Kumar, Fireman Driver – Hebbal Station
B S Manjunath, Fireman – South Fire Station, Bengaluru
K Suresh, Fireman – South Fire Station, Bengaluru