Electrical Fire Safety: Be smart Be safe

While electricity is a wonderful aspect of modern life, it can be dangerous if we aren’t careful. Electrical fires are a frequent occurrence in India. We read and hear of instances in the news regularly describing ghastly fire accidents causing massive damage to property and claiming innocent lives. Majority of electrical fires are a result of short circuit due to old wiring, damaged or poor quality of equipment and faulty outlets.

Be it slums, high-rises, restaurants, industrial units, studios or old buildings – each has witnessed massive fire incidents this year. The violation of fire safety regulations has turned each into a tinder box, said experts. According to the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2009, buildings are supposed to conduct a fire audit twice a year – in January and July – and submit the fitness certificates to the nearest fire deparment. In the last six years, there have been 29,140 fire incidents in Mumbai in which 300 people have died and 925 people have been injured.

So, at least 10 to 12 fire accidents take place in Mumbai every day. In most of cases the fire is caused due to short circuit, and especially in crowded cities, and high rises where countless lives have been lost. It is high time that even the establishment owners take onus of the high degree of risk that comes with the use of poor quality cables and should conduct proper research before making the final selection. The quality of cables should not be compromised for the sake of price.

With the rapid growth in infrastructure and urbanization there is a growing need for specialty cables. Fire survival cables, especially, have seen a steady demand in places inhabited by people with limited mobility like hospitals, clinics or with unfamiliar layout of buildings like malls and cinema halls and crowded places like offices, schools, etc. where the need to evacuate people during fire breakouts is of primary concern. Cables play a key role in safety of an establishment with respect to fires, as they are a vital link between emergency equipment and their power or control source and hence it is crucial that they must remain functional even during a fire.

The increased standard of living of an average Indian house hold with the economic growth has also increased our dependence on electricity in our day to day life. This also means a typical household has more electrical appliances today than ever before. Also, the common trend in urban India is high rise residential construction with the increase in density of population per square foot area. Considering these facts, it’s important for us to give the electrical wiring its due attention and follow safe wiring practices to avoid fire accidents.

It may be observed that unsafe conditions prevails in many houses and work places. Similarly, many of us, one way or other neglect safe practices which could end up in many electrical accidents. Safe conditions and safe practices are a prerequisite for reducing electrical accidents.

IEEMA organised its first edition of “Electrical Fire Safety Conclave” on Friday, 29th June at ITC Grand Maratha, Andheri East, Mumbai. The conclave emphasised on various aspects of electrical risk management, improper maintenance and ignorance of the safety precautions during their use which leads to fire accident due to lack of awareness or knowledge. The conclave was organised in collaboration with Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India (MHA), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Central Electricity authority (CEA), National Association of Fire Officers (NAFO), and Fire and Security Association of India (FSAI).