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Updated: March 18, 2012 10:37 IST

People give a go-by to fire safety precautions

M. Srinivas
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The Hindu

Fire safety week from April 14 to 21

The onset of summer has not only led to mercury levels rising gradually, but also brought fire mishaps in its wake. There has been a steady increase in the number of fire accidents leaving people and fire authorities on tenterhooks.

There have been as many as ten fire accidents from February, which claimed the lives of eight persons including a girl. The loss of property in these accidents is estimated to have crossed Rs. 3 crore. Despite the recurrence of these mishaps and warnings by authorities, people generally tend to ignore all fire safety precautions.

In most of the cases, there is contributory negligence by the owners themselves. Installation of sub-standard appliances, illegal cable tapping and improper electrical wiring in residential and commercial complexes were found to be the main causes for increasing mishaps. “Air conditioners, fans and refrigerators are used extensively for long durations in summer. This can lead to heating of cables and coupled with rising mercury levels, they can generate sparks leading to a blaze,” an official explained.

Another factor contributing to these accidents is the careless attitude of the smokers. Recent incidents proved that cigarette butts not fully snuffed out sparked fire. A major fire broke out in a plastic godown at Katedan Industrial Area in Shivrampally triggering panic among the nearby residents, after someone threw a burning cigarette butt on the scrap material dumped in an open place.

Dry grass in an open area at Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Shamshabad too caught fire in a similar manner. Garbage heaps was also a cause for fire in summer.

Since the onset of summer, the fire control room has been receiving nearly a dozen distress calls everyday as against the normal average of five to six calls during rainy and winter seasons. Senior officials say most high-rise residential and commercial buildings in twin cities are extremely vulnerable to fire as building owners failed to install fire safety systems.

In-charge District Fire Officer Kareemuddin says mishaps increase in April, May and June as climate turns dry. “We are organising a series of events to create awareness among people during the fire safety week from April 14 to 21,” he adds.

Keywords: Fire safety

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