Procurement of fire safety paraphernalia such as fire extinguisher, sprinkler, emergency lights, signages etc. is only step one. Correct and strategic placement of these items in the given environment so as to abide by best practices as per existing protocols is step two. Step three is training people on the spot-staff, juniors and seniors, management and others on correct first response in case of a fire. Step four is conducting periodical fire drills and step five, which is easy to forget, is obtaining all necessary clearances and licenses and the periodic checking and maintenance of the equipment to ensure they are in ready usable condition 24x7.  


Now is there a step six? Yes, there is. In case of exigency in an emergency situation time is a matter that will determine life and death. If anything prevents an inmate from escaping everything else is useless. Let us assume that the fire extinguisher manages to stifle the flames enough to enable escape and the fire brigade is on route. The darkness is there and the smoke too, but the emergency lights and photoluminescent signs are showing the shortest exit as being the back door. The inmate crawls below the smoke and follows the lighted signs to reach the back door ahead of the flames. But as he reaches for the doorknob, he finds the door is jammed because some old boxes and stuff have been placed blocking the opening of the door. By the time the half dead guy gets to removing the blocking articles, assuming he can, the fire catches up and he expires anyway.


Therefore, all 5 steps on the spot could not save the poor man because the final step was not as expected. Jammed doors, blocked exit routes, insufficient ventilation and other practical impediments have the potential to trash all the good work done in creating a safe environment in an enclosed space. Think about it, it could save a life and make everything else worthwhile.



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