A sharp rise in the number of fire accidents in the Central region was noticeable in the year 2009. The number of fire accidents -small, medium and serious- reported in the region, encompassing nine Fire Divisions, in 2009 was 7,357 which were more as compared to the previous year. The property loss owing to the fire accidents was over Rs. 7 crore.

The Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Service Department's central region encompasses Tiruchi, Karur, Perambalur, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Pudukottai Fire Divisions.

The Cuddalore Fire Division topped the list in respect of fire accidents in 2009 with the figure being 1,557 followed by Villupuram Division where 1,491 fire accidents were reported. The Tiruchi Fire Division reported 947 fire calls, while the number of fire accidents in Tiruvarur and Thanjavur Divisions were 639 and 629 respectively.

Fire and Rescue Service Department officials here say the number of fire accidents reported across the Central Region in 2008 was 6,016 with the property loss being Rs. 29 crore.

A host of factors including human negligence, careless disposal of smoke materials, electrical short circuit and electric spark and unnecessary material storage were all causes behind fire accidents.

A senior Department official said awareness programmes were being conducted by fire fighters periodically across the Central Region, which has a total number of 89 fire stations, to drive home the message of safety to the general public and the precautionary measures that needed to be taken to prevent fire accidents.

Mock emergency drills were being organised to demonstrate the ways to rescue people in case of fire and other natural calamities, the official said adding that fire audits were being carried out regularly.

Fire commandos, who have been imparted extra training in fire fighting and rescue operations, were deployed in all the nine divisions to act in times of emergency.

The official said the Department had planned to impart basic training in fire fighting to volunteers from the rural areas besides to school and college students soon.