There is an industry out there which does business in providing safety in cases of unfortunate eventualities. Insurance companies, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, life jackets, emergency lights, signages, PPE and so many more products are available for those who believe in preparing themselves for unexpected accidents.
However, while conventional wisdom tells us that we need to be fully ready for such eventualities there is a stingy guy in us that tells us that accidents happen to others so why spend a few bucks?
How many of us know that the maximum number of unfortunate deaths and disabilities that people suffer in accidents were actually avoidable had the right thing been available at the critical time? To quote a recent episode a young man died when a boat which was headed for the venue of the grand Shivaji statue venue near Mumbai capsized. It was discovered that he could have survived had there been a life jacket available to him. Despite a rule that provides for having adequate number of life jackets on boats they were just not there because someone thought it was an avoidable expense.
Now some of us may think that we are safe and secure in our homes or offices as we own the premises and so are familiar with the same. WRONG. Statistics also show that deaths that have happened due to fire accidents and smoke choking in enclosed spaces are most often because adequate and sometimes even basic safety apparatus and paraphernalia were just not there at the critical moment because some smartass had saved a few bucks. Here too, the Kamala Mills episode which shook the nation can be a case to learn from.
SO HOW DO WE PREPARE FOR ACCIDENTS IN ENCLOSED SPACES?
Actually, one only needs to take out time and check out the basic building code and rules to know that every enclosed premise-be it a home, a hospital, a school, a stadium or a theater for that matter, has to have some paraphernalia in place which are Non-Negotiable. For example, emergency lights, fire extinguishers, first aid kits and signs and directional tools that are visible not just in normal lighting conditions but also in pitch darkness are some basic recommended MUSTS for enclosed spaces.
Emergency lighting is used to automatically provide sufficient lighting for the safe evacuation of people at the time of electricity supply failure. This Emergency Lighting is required in public places like healthcare centers, corporate offices, education institutions, industrial building and other public places so that people can be evacuated safely at the time of emergency.
Self-contained emergency lighting are used in small buildings with low number of lighting points. They can be operated in either maintained or non-maintained mode. Maintained mode is generally employed in places of assembly that includes clubs, cinemas and theater. Maintained emergency lights are lit all the time.
Another MUST to ensure protection in conditions of poor visibility or darkness is the photoluminescent or ‘glow’ sign/marker. Photoluminescence occurs when a material absorbs photons (light energy) and emits them when the light source is removed. This is commonly seen in ‘glow-in-the-dark’ objects such as childrens’ toys. When this is applied to safety signs it helps provide guidance in darkened conditions.
Speaking of signages and markers how many of us know that since the introduction of the Safety Signs and Signals Regulations in 1996 in Britain, there has been a downward trend in the number of fatal work-related injuries. In 1996 there were 0.9 fatal injuries per every 100,000 workers, in 2017 the figure is 0.4 . Isn’t that a step worth emulating here in India?
Signs such as these have a lifespan of up to twenty-five years when used indoors, as they are maintenance free there is no need for costly regular testing regimes associated with ensuring the correct functionality of electrical signs.
In addition to their cost effectiveness, the eco-friendly signs help reduce the carbon footprint of businesses and corporations. Enterprises will have different requirements for their signage and some may choose to use electrical signage. However, having fire exit and hazard signs lit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, they will contribute to the fuel costs of a company. A photoluminescent sign only needs a good source of light to work.
So if you haven’t already done so yet, do the right thing now. … before it is too late.