‘As a teacher who is also a parent, what is it that I can do to make the place around us fire-safe?’
Beyond Carlton, in collaboration with CENTA conducted this webinar on 26th July 2021. Here is an excerpt of a webinar, in which some of the eminent experts in the field of fire safety shared their views on Fire safety at home & schools. This webinar aims at educating schools and educational institutions in our Country on increasing awareness towards fire safety.
A quick introduction to the participants.
Karthik Menon from CENTA introduced the guest speakers to the audience. CENTA in collaboration with Beyond Carlton (India’s first fire community) which aims at changing the way fire safety practices are adopted in India.
Vasanthi Hariprakash, Trustee, Beyond Carlton. Vasanthi is a communications coach, media strategist and an independent anchor, moderated the webinar.
Sumit Khanna is a fire expert and a member of the executive council of Beyond Carlton.
Vidya Goggi, member of the executive council, Beyond Carlton. She is an independent IT & Services professional and a founding member of the Bangalore Apartments Federation.
The webinar aims at bringing about awareness among the schools and thereby a social change with regards to fire safety.
Ms Vasanthi started off with polls to ignite a spark in the minds of the audience by questioning the audience on fire safety. The response was overwhelming & to some extent unexpected as most of them were well aware of fire safety.
Ms Vidya shared her past experiences where she said that most of the time people prefer to be spectators during a fire drill. She feels that there is a barrier or hesitation, but eventually one needs to venture into participating to educate oneself. She recalled live examples in her discourse that stands testimony to kids’ ability to grasp & embrace welcome changes in fire safety measures. The role of teachers being the frontline-changemakers should involve children in fire safety measures.
The pandemic situation has put us through a situation of working from home along with multitasking domestic chores as well. One tends to work parallelly in the kitchen and in other areas of the house. Since almost everyone happens to be home – Working or learning using laptops or desktops, there is every chance of these getting overloaded. So it is important to ensure extreme precautions are taken in the kitchen and check if electrical circuits are not overloaded. One should not leave the stove unattended while cooking, even if it is for a brief time.
Mr Sumit spoke extensively on fire safety basics and how to go about Preventing, Protecting and Rescuing from fire.
How can you engage kids in these awareness-building exercises?
Sumit shared interesting project ideas for kids like
1) Locating 5 sources of combustibles at home,
2) Locating electrical loose points and
3) Checking leakages in LPG cylinders;
Kids can share their project observations with adults and friends in the neighbourhood. The outcome of such exercises is expected to bring awareness & execution steps in the next generation’s mind in Preventing potential causes of fire.
Watch this video here:
What are different classes of fire and how is it relevant to households?
Sumit suggested every household own extinguishers to put off fire types A, B and C. These extinguishers do not cost much and they will come to the rescue in Protecting precious lives, possessions and living space. He also explained the classes of fire for the benefit of the audience:
Class A – Fire from solids like wood/cloth,
Class B – Fire from flammable liquids/oil like kerosene,
Class C – Fire from gas like CNG,
Class D – Fire from metal and
Class E – Electrical fire.
Fire extinguishers come with A , B , C , D, E marks.
Here are some expert tips on awareness measures for schools…
Lab facilities in the schools are generally equipped with highly loaded electrical circuits; he highlighted the need for schools to exercise caution over labs. Having spoken on Prevention and Protection, Mr Sumit spoke on how to Rescue. Some of the points include
1) Don’t run, Crawl. We get better visibility while crawling; Smoke rises up and reduces the visibility when we see in the upright position,
2) Switch off the main supply,
3) Keep the doors open,
4) Call 101,
5) Evacuate first kids, seniors, differently-abled and those who need help in evaluation,
6) Use staircases and not elevators, and many more.
The discussion moved into its final stages and the conversation extended to what we can learn from other countries regarding fire safety. It is interesting to learn that the US uses animals, especially dogs to give messages regarding fire safety to kids; They have scrapbook activities in which they organize the fire safety practices. In some western countries, cartoon characters and story formats are used to impart fire safety knowledge to kids.
It is a moment of positivity as the Union budget has unveiled the fire-fighting budget in recent years, giving a lot of hope to see vibes across the spectrum of the fire safety systems in the country.
Ms Vasanthi gave the vote of thanks and acknowledged the host of schools and educational institutions for participating in the webinar in such huge numbers. She requested the audience to be part of Beyond Carlton’s “Soldiers of Safety”.