A look at the Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety, Delhi, of the DRDO.

An important segment of activities related to armaments is handling hazardous situations. Studies on managing fire, explosives and environment safety have great significance in the scheme of things in the armaments cluster under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Emerging technologies have to be invoked judiciously for effective management. Innovative methods of operation have to be found through research as part of development activities.

The Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety, Delhi, engages in this work.

The centre is located at Brigadier S.K. Mazumdar Marg, Timarpur, Delhi - 110 054;

Website: http://drdo.gov.in/drdo/labs/CFEES/English/index.jsp?pg=homebody.jsp

There is a small story in the evolution of the CFEES. It was originally CEES, which was formed in 1992 by merging three units: DRDO Computer Centre, Delhi; Directorate of Explosives Safety, DRDO Headquarters; and Fire Adviser’s Office, DRDO Headquarters.

In 2000, another DRDO lab, Defence Institute of Fire Research, was added to CEES. It was felt that the importance of fire service should also be emphasised. Consequently, in 2003, the organisation was renamed CFEES.

Areas of operation

As the name of the centre clearly indicates, the studies are spread over three areas — fire, explosives and environment. The main items of work in each area are shown below.

Explosive safety: Identifying the safest sites for the processing and storage of explosives is an important responsibility. Since the risk for human life is involved, the handling of explosives should be decided and executed with extreme caution. Faultless vigilance has to be exercised in ensuring the security of explosives. There are several statutory rules and regulations in respect of handling explosives. All those have to be complied with in full.

Identifying the safest locations for the processing and storage of explosives is important in any organisations. The design of safe storage houses has to take into account the prescribed safety norms. Further, the storage houses have to be tested and evaluated for compliance of safety rules.

Environment safety: Safe disposal of hazardous waste is a headache for organisations handling explosives. The centre develops photo-degradable packaging material such as polythene for high altitudes.

Fire protection engineering: This is a vast area involving the development of various types of protection against fire. Automatic detection of fire and explosion and suppression systems for armoured vehicles are examples. Developing lightweight fire protective clothing is another area. Studies are also made for the development of laser-attenuation-based smoke and temperature detectors for fire detection. The centre organises fire-protection and firefighting training for personnel of the Defence services as well as inter-services organisations.

Product development

The products developed by the centre include the following.

Systems for environmental protection and monitoring, evaluation of different kinds of fire extinguishers, monitoring systems for groundwater contamination, and ABC powder for fire fighting. (ABC stands for multi-purpose dry chemical extinguishing agent certified for A, B, and C type fires. A: common fuels such as wood, B: flammable liquids, and C: charged electrical fires)

Those with an aptitude for undertaking scientific research related to safety procedures in cases involving fire and explosives will find fine opportunities in the CFEES.

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