The building code is pretty clear on the minimum compliance protocols for safety and security in enclosed spaces. In fact, it always was. And yet, most premises still do not observe the rules. Accidents, fires and blackouts keep happening and so many precious lives are lost due to criminal negligence of exigency laws. So is it not time to change our mindset?

It has now been established that developers and builders who bribe their way to get licences and clearances may not have it so easy in future. The public outcry against the horrible deaths at the Kamala mills rooftop fire have reached a crescendo and no government or civic authority dare to carry on with business as usual any longer. Also, the spate of accidents that have followed only added to the outrage and anger against the authorities and old sins are being dug out and people who have been sitting pretty so far satiated on bribe money are having sleepless nights.

The common man is now much wiser on the basics of fire protection and safety, especially since the 1 Above and Mojo’s Bistro affair has been in the news almost daily right into the third month 2018. People realize that at the budding stages of any construction of eateries, malls or any business premises for that matter, it is vital to ensure that emergency exits, lights and proper exigency signages are in place. Even after the business begins to run it is vital to ensure maintenance of basic equipment from time to time and to train the staff on basic first aid and exigency protocols to follow in case of an accident.

Mumbai recently saw a major international fire conclave “Fire Combat 2018” where firemen from 17 countries along with India took the ‘2 minute’ challenge of fitness and quick reaction. The tremendous response the event got from the common people who turned up and cheered the teams engaged in reacting to a mock fire situation only proved that awareness was certainly spreading fast among the people on these issues.

The world has changed immensely and so have the risks. Cheek to jowl shanties are fire hazards and so are high rises. Accidents don’t give notice, they do not see rich or poor. When they occur, only the best prepared get off easy and as for the rest, it takes seconds to wipe out years of effort and in some cases life itself.

If you have also been under the illusion of security while your fire exits are blocked or your lights are not functional or you have not installed proper signages and pathfinders as guides in pitch dark or smoke situations, maybe the stakes stacked against you are higher than you would like to believe.  Many are already paying not just with cash, but even personal liberty for being held remotely responsible for disasters like the Kamal Mills fire. Dare to be different. You owe it to yourself.

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