Karnah, Keran, Machil, Gurez, Tulail & 700 far flung villages to be equipped with Fire Extinguishers -Div Com Kashmir
Webinar on Fire Safety Measures in Winter was jointly organised by National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Institution of Engineers (India) J&K State Centre, Srinagar in collaboration with J&K Fire and Emergency Services, SDRF, Divisional Administration Kashmir and State Emergency Operation Centre. The webinar was inaugurated by Dr. B. Srinivas, Director General, Fire & Emergency Services and Commandant General CD, HG and SDRF.
He appreciated the initiative taken to generate public awareness about fires in winters and urged for greater community involvement for ensuring fire safety and focus on fire prevention. He said that F&ES, Civil Defence, Home Guards and SDRF are doing exceptional work and implored people to join Civil Defence and learn fire-fighting and life-saving skills.
Speaking on the occasion Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole said that in Kashmir most of the houses in Kashmir are made up of wood which is vulnerable to fire. He said it’s important to frame area specific solutions for all hazards including Fire because accessibility is an issue.
He appreciated Fire & Emergency Services for doing an excellent work but suggested that in far-flung areas it become a challenge due to the difficult terrain and the localities become vulnerable to fire. He issued instructions to Director Rural Development Kashmir to procure 2 to 3 multipurpose Fire extinguishers, for all Panchayats of Karnah, Keran, Machil, Gurez and Tulail blocks and also around 700 far-flung villages in hilly areas which have limited road access in winters.
These Fire Extinguishers shall be procured by the Rural Development Department and placed at the disposal of the respective Panchayats. Volunteers shall be identified in each Panchayat and they will be imparted fire-fighting training, so that it strengthens the Community level Disaster Management teams and encourages them to be part of the Disaster management set-up.
He directed that fire extinguishers shall immediately be procured by the Heads of Department and installed in all Government offices. He directed that Ghats on River Jhelum shall be identified by Joint Director Fire Services, where facility shall be made available for drawing water by mobile pumps, in case of any fire incident in the locality. He appreciated the organisers for holding this most important webinar.
The panelists included RC Sharma, Former Director Delhi Fire Service, Ravi Kumar Panditta Commandant 7th Bn, NDRF from Bathinda Punjab, and Bashir Ahmed Shah, Jt. Dir F&ES Kashmir. The opening remarks were given by Dr. Amir Ali Khan, Faculty NIDM, who said that care should be taken of the lifeline infrastructure including hospitals, in view of the fire vulnerability.
He said that local level awareness is needed and fire emergency exits or escape routes must be identified particularly in hospitals and fire extinguishers installed and refilled. He suggested that Do’s and Don’ts should be disseminated to the public and strictly implemented.
The programme was coordinated by Er. M. Auquib Sultana Waheed Deva, Honorary Secretary IEI JKSC who gave a brief introduction about the theme of the webinar and stated that to be proactive in the 21st century is very much important to be safe from any incident. The programme was conducted by Mohmmed Suhail Wani, Bilquees Dar and Yogita Garbyal.
The programme was attended by over 200 participants including Council Members of IEI from various States, Corporate Members of JKSC students from SSM, NIT, University of Kashmir and other Colleges. Besides all Addl DCs, Head Quarter Tehsildars, Chief Medical Officers, other senior officers, Civil Defence Volunteers, and media also attended the webinar which was also live on YouTube and Facebook.
Chairman IEI Aamir Ali said that J&K is vulnerable to multiple disasters, but Fire is the most common disaster that we encounter in our daily lives particularly winter and unfortunately the basic cause of fire is usually human error, accident or negligence. He said that improper use of gas, charcoal or firewood Bukharies also results in fires, or even deaths due to asphyxia.
He cautioned that kitchen fires are also very common, when food is kept unattended, while cooking and Electrical short circuits, due to overloading the power sockets, or using faulty electrical appliances, electrical room heaters, electric blankets are also very common in winters.
He said that fires also start due to improper use of Kangris, Candles, Cigarettes and Hookah etc and even Forest Fires are caused due to human error or interference. Aamir said that in Srinagar 200 volunteers have been trained in Fire-fighting and basic first aid, under the Centrally sponsored Aapda Mitra Scheme and over 10,000 community based volunteers have also been trained in 20 Districts, besides thousands of Volunteers from CD, NSS, NCC, Scouts/Guides. He said that Civil Defence, SDRF, NDRF, F&ES, Health Department and Red Cross regularly conduct short-term training on fire-fighting techniques and basic first-aid skills and if the general public, particularly youth get involved, it can to a great extent, ensure a safer environment.
He appreciated that trained and well equipped Fire and Emergency Services and two Battalions of SDRF and team of NDRF are available that too fully equipped and trained personnel of Forest Protection Force in case of Forest Fires, but they need to be better equipped. He suggested that it essential that a Fire safety audit of all life line buildings and Govt. offices are completed at the earliest and mandatory fire-safety measures are put in place and that Fire mock drills need to be conducted in all important offices, on a regular basis.
He suggested that Insurance of residential and commercial structures should be made mandatory and strictly enforced, so that the affected persons can get compensation in case of devastating fires. He urged everyone to prepare their own family-level, fire safety evacuation plans and practice the drills, once in a while, involving all their family members.
RC Sharma, Former Dir. Delhi Fire Service shared his experiences of his service at different positions and stressed that there are more fire incidents during winter and most on Diwali occasion. He said that more than two-thirds of the fire incidents are attributed to electricity.
He stressed on awareness upto local level which is the best solution to keep not only the fire incidents but also other hazards under control. He said that the buildings and other infrastructure should be made with proper ventilation and other codes.
He suggested that it’s advisable to keep two buckets full of water handy and multipurpose or water type fire-extinguisher at our homes and workplaces and most importantly learn how to use the extinguishers. He also suggested installing smoke/fire detectors, which doesn’t cost much but can be a life-saver device.
Bashir Ahmed Shah, Jt. Dir F&ES Kashmir said that fire incidents occur throughout the year, however, the incidents increase more in winter due to various seasons like Bukharies, electronic gadgets, boilers, Kangris, etc.
He suggested that people should incorporate fire safety measures during construction and install fire extinguishers, at home and offices. He also gave a brief data of the number of facilities that are available to them at each level. He suggested that fire hydrants should be kept functional.
Ravi Kumar Panditta Commandant 7th Bn, NDRF from Bathinda gave an overall vision of NDRF, especially related to response in an emergency.
He described the functions of different sectors of NDRF, how they work during any incident and shared his experiences and suggested that knowledge of basic Do’s and Don’t’s is a must for every individual. He also stressed upon the installation of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to control fire incidents quickly.
He shared various techniques of search and location in post disaster situations and how to handle the victims for proper treatment.