Fire Safety: Let Us Think Like Humans

Surya Prakash, Head - Fire Safety, Escorts Headquartered in Faridabad, Escorts is one of India's leading best tractor manufacturing companies specializing in Agricultural Machinery, Construction Equipment, Railway Equipment, and Auto Products.

In today’s world, we are becoming more & more prone to the unwelcome guest, ‘the uncontrolled fire’.

Why more incidents these days?
There are several reasons behind the surging statistics of fire incidents. To name a few, increase inaverage atmospheric temperature which has inherently increased the risk. Cost reduction approach which forces us to select materials which are comparatively more flammable. For example, a conveyor belt which carries a flammable material shall be fire resistant but normally we prefer cheaper ones, which are more combustible.

Lack of Awareness: I consider this to occupy majority of share in causing man-made disasters. If this parameter is set alright, above points automatically get controlled. And often these days, we see incidents which could have been stopped, at a minor property loss level, from being transformed into a disaster. Can we forget incidents like Bhopal Gas Tragedy or can we forget Uphaar Cinema mishap ever?

Are we not aware how intense agony & severe trauma it may cause?
How prepared we are to deal with the intense heat, once it goes-out of our control? We barely reach up to the levels set as minimum by Statute and stop there. Do we ever think of inching ahead? Why it becomes difficult to reach even up to the minimum level? I believe this is because of the fact that first we plan and execute production units and then we think of creating preparedness against the unpleasant, the undesired devil. Whereas, to the best of my knowledge and belief, production is not the only target, not even production with safety, but it is always safe production which should be our ultimate goal. It is not that we all are not doing it, only thing is, we have to take a ‘Zero Tolerance’ and ‘Zero Compromise’ approach when it comes to safety. Is it only because Statute requires, we must do it? It has a deep connection and it directly affects our business continuity. Even a medium intensity fire has a potential to cause a nose dive in our surging graph.
We must not forget that a fire, even of a medium intensity, causes harm to people, loss of property which are direct losses, and indirect losses which are harder to recover are huge loss of production hours and last, but not the least, we cannot afford our brand image and reputation being tarnished.

If we really want to contribute in building an industry, a nation or a world which has no losses from fire, each one of us need to act responsibly. First, we have to fulfill the statutory requirement in to, which includes installation of fire protection systems.

" If we really want to contribute in building an industry, a nation or a world which has no losses from fire, each one of us need to act responsibly"

Fire protection system and fire fighting system largely consist of:
1. Portable System: Different types of fire extinguishers in various capacities, sand buckets, water buckets and others, and these are meant to deal with fire in early flaming stage. This has great significance, earlier we quench fire, lesser are the losses.

2.Fixed Systems:
a. Fire Detection & Alarm System: This system basically helps us in detection of fire and it is also very much helpful in ensuring timely evacuation.

b. Fire Hydrant System: This is an active & manually operated system which helps us in combating fire of medium & large intensity. Also, this system is helpful in preventing spread of fire, as we can do cooling of adjacent installations.

c. Sprinkler System: This is the most dependable automatic detection & suppression system. It detects fire by sensing rise in temperature and operates at a set temperature and by itself extinguishes fire by spraying water.

d. Spray System: This is also an active automatic detection & suppression system mostly installed at conveyors, electrical transformers, cable galleries and others.

e. Flooding System: For premises where, in case of fire, approach is difficult and houses valuable items or critical processes, flooding system is installed. This again is an active automatic fire detection and suppression system and does not require any human intervention for its operation.

3. Mobile System: This includes fire-fighting vehicle which gives us mobility and can even reach up to places where fixed system is not installed.

Always we have to keep the systems healthy. With management commitment and sense of responsibility among all of us, this goal is not that difficult to achieve.

Does it pay back?
Having installed fire protection system and maintaining it in healthy condition gives us a sense of security and peace of mind and also creates a safe working atmosphere. Always bear in mind that, ifa fixed fire protection system helps in preventing fire to grow large, even if once in its lifetime, it pays back much more than what we have spent on it.

Are we ready to walk that extra mile?
To take fire safety to a higher level, it requires commitment from one and all. Let us all become aware and acquire subject knowledge, get trained and prevent fire incidents from occurring. Let us select, install and promote technologically advanced fire protection system to be well prepared in handling the devil and lastly, I urge everyone to give a serious thought to: ‘Where there is a human concern, we must think like humans’.