Burning problem: Fast urbanising India can’t be cavalier on safety & have pathetic fire-fighting infrastructure

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News: There is a need to adopt various mechanisms to control fire incidents.

There are many loose ends in ensuring the fire safety standards. In 2019 alone, India recorded 10,915 deaths due to fire accidents. Recently, a fire broke out in a hospital in Maharashtra, which led to the loss of 11 lives.

Where do the fire incidents, mostly occur?

Most of the fire fatalities occur in residential buildings.

In 2019, compared to 2% fatalities in factories, fire fatalities in residential areas counts to 58%.

Therefore, the focus has to be on residential buildings in order to cut down both accidents and related fatalities.

Moreover, Urbanisation is growing fast, with about half of the population in a few states living in urban areas. Tightly packed urban clusters mean a higher likelihood of accidents.

Read more: The issue of Urban Fires in India – Explained, pointwise
What steps need to be taken?

– Adoption of guidelines- Guidelines of National Building Code to Ensure Fire Safety in Public buildings should be adopted in letter and spirit.

– Allocation of resources: Fire safety standards fall under the municipality which is often resourced deprived. Government should ensure proper allocation of resources to them.

– Proper infrastructure: Fire-fighting infrastructure needs to be bolstered. In 2018, there were barely 10 people for every 100 needed and about 22 vehicles for 100 assessed as the requirement.

Read more: Need for Fire Safety training and technologies

India should learn from other countries like the USA which in 2017 reported over a million fire incidents, but maintaining High safety standards, it ensured to reduce fatalities to one per lakh population.

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