India has travelled a long way in fire safety awareness and our fire brigade and
related safety service personnel have a much better deal today than say, a decade
back. However, instead of lesser fire accidents happening we find that incidents of
fire accidents have become more frequent, that too in big cities, than earlier.
So while on the one hand the authorities are making progress in firming up fire
safety at various levels, the safety awareness has not trickled down sufficiently to
the last common man. Most fire accidents happen due to negligence born of
ignorance. Unless the common man imbibes the basic knowledge to PREVENT fire
accidents in the first place, the problem of recurring fires will not go away.
SO WHAT IS FIRE PREVENTION ANYWAY? NO ONE CAN PREDICT AN ACCIDENT
Absolutely, but when an accident can easily be CAUSED by a carelessly tossed
cigarette, answering the phone while the gas stove is on and unlit, not taking
action to replace old and dangerous electrical wiring, using a pest control spray
near to an open flame, storing inflammable material in an enclosed space which
has a fire source in use, keeping your mobile phone dangerously close to an active
microwave oven and similar idiotic acts by ignoramuses, educating them is the
In a recent interview Central York Fire Services Chief Ian Laing shared some
safety tips. We carry below that interview for our readers here.
Living in a highrise or accessory dwelling unit (ADU), you need to think ahead and
be prepared in the event of a fire.
It is important to know the fire safety features in your building or unit, and work
with others in your unit or highrise to be fire safe. Educate yourself on the
emergency procedures outlined in the building’s fire safety plan and remember,
every fire is different, so be sure to act quickly when you hear the alarm or
discover a fire.
Here are some fire safety tips to keep in mind if a fire happens in your building:
• Tell everyone in your unit to leave. Close all doors behind you, pull the fire
alarm on your floor and yell "Fire." Leave the building using the nearest stairway
and call 911 from a safe location. Meet the firefighters outside and let them know
where the fire is.
The best thing to do in a fire is to leave the building as soon as possible. In some
cases, you may not be able to leave and may have to stay in your unit. Either way,
you must act quickly. The longer you wait, the more risk there is that heavy smoke
will spread. No matter what, you must protect yourself so be sure to get low to
the floor and go under the smoke.
If it is safe to leave your unit:
• Check the door. If smoke is entering from around the door or you feel heat, do
not open it. If there is no smoke, brace yourself and open the door a little. If the
hallway is clear, grab your keys and take the nearest stairway. Never use an
• Open the nearest stairway door carefully. If there is no smoke, use the stairway
to leave the building. If there is smoke, do not enter. Close the door and try to
take another stairway. If you are unable to use the stairs, return to your unit and
• Never go to the roof. Smoke rises and doors opening to the roof are normally
locked which means you could be trapped.
• Once out, stay out. Do not go back into the building until CYFS tells you it is