The Inspectorate of Factories, Tiruchi, proposes to organise off-site emergency response drills for the first time in the district.

The drills will be carried out in residential pockets abutting industries manufacturing hazardous products to determine the exact efficacy of the safety machineries and mechanisms in place, the Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories, Tiruchi, R. Erai Arul, said on Friday. Areas around seven such industries have been identified for the exercise that would be initiated by this month-end or the start of next month, Mr. Erai Arul said.

Earlier, witnessing an onsite emergency response drill at the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Tiruchi Terminal, at Vazhavandankottai, he expressed satisfaction over the agility of the staff in handling crisis situations. Mr. Erai Arul, however, observed that all possibilities for further improvement in dealing with emergencies must be explored fully.

After the drill spanning less than ten minutes when the IOC team was joined by the Fire and Rescue Service Personnel to put out the (imaginary) fire on one of its 3,835 KL storage tanks using 600 KL of water and 400 litres of foam, Mr. Erai Arul urged the staff not to let any room for complacency during mock exercises. While raising an alarm, the exact spot of fire must be indicated, and the evacuation of men and vehicles must be carried out in a jiffy. He wanted all the staff members to be comfortable with operating the emergency fire fighting equipments.

Another layer of water jets on the outer periphery of the existing ones was advisable since, in the event of real fire, rescuers who will be working closer to the tanks could be protected from becoming casualties, the Divisional Engineer of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board Vijayabaskaran pointed out. In future drills, the quickness in first-aid delivery must also be determined. As part of infusing orderliness into the entire operation, the rescued people must not be allowed to run, he said.

The Deputy Chief Security Officer of BHEL, Tiruchi, S. Palanivelu, felt that the real response time of the Fire and Rescue Services team must be determined next time. Endorsing the idea, the Station Fire Officer, Navalpattu Fire Station, G. Ganesan, said a specific assembling spot must be earmarked for stationing people rescued in emergency situations.

In future emergency drills, announcements will be made from the security office on a continuous basis over the walkie talkies in order to ensure that every individual on the premises receives timely alert, the Terminal Manager R. Ravichandran said. The terminal maintains water stock to the extent of 5,200 KL against the requirement of 2,800 KL for four hours of fire-fighting, he said, assuring that all suggestions for improvements will be incorporated in the next drill.

Keywords: Security drill