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Teaching schoolchildren to adopt safety measures

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learning session: A hut set on fire as part of a mock drill conducted on Thursday at the Somasundaram Corporation Play Ground in T. Nagar.
learning session: A hut set on fire as part of a mock drill conducted on Thursday at the Somasundaram Corporation Play Ground in T. Nagar.

Staff Reporter

More than 100 students participated

CHENNAI: “What will you do when the electric wires at home start burning,” asked M.Namasivayam, Additional Divisional Officer, Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services. A bunch of enthusiastic children shouted “Turn off the mains”. Another bunch of children shouted, “Run away!” Another bunch of children shouted, “Throw some sand!”

Mr.Namasivayam smiled and asked, “So none of you would dial 101 then?” And all children put their hands on their forehead and sighed, “Oh! yeah!” They had obviously forgotten the first thing every one is supposed to do in the case of a fire — report it at the earliest.

At an awareness programme conducted for schoolchildren by Safety Exnora at the Somasundaram Corporation playground in T. Nagar on Thursday, a few basic tips to deal with emergency situations were given, especially fire safety and first aid.

More than 100 students, mostly from Corporation schools and a few private schools, participated in the programme.

Mr. Namasivayam told the children that in case of fire, two things must be done immediately: ensure fire does not spread by isolating the burning object and dial 101. He said people should move out into the open or else the smoke could choke people.

He further quizzed the children on what should be done with the windows when there is fire. Again the children shouted, “Open them!” The officer smiled again and said if windows were opened, the fire would only spread as it would get more oxygen to burn.

“Windows should never be opened during fire. That is to be done only in the case of a gas leak,” he said.

TNFRS officers conducted a mock fire drill too. A makeshift thatched hut in the middle of the playground was set on fire and students extinguished it with water jets following demonstration.

Similarly, a metal tray was set on fire and students put it off with carbon dioxide fire extinguishers.

S. Ramadoss, lecturer from St. John’s Ambulance, made demonstrations on first-aid procedures such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, different ways to lift and carry a person having a stroke and ways to tie a bandage for different types of fractures.

He cautioned the students on some of the wrong practices commonly followed by people. “Never give drinks like lemon soda to an unconscious person,” he said.

He added: “Do not give a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if the person’s pulse is working,” and “Pour a few drops of salt water into the ear when an insect enters. Never use hot oil or safety pins.”

Safety Exnora also promoted its 8888 campaign at the event and exhorted the children to switch off their lights on August 8 at 8 p.m. for 8 minutes to spread awareness of global warming and its link with increasing electricity consumption.

Mayor M. Subramanium participated in the event.

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