625 fire incidents occur in Mumbai every month

According to the latest report of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, 3,777 fire-related incidents have occurred between November 2011 and March 2012, making the average number of incidents around 625 a month.

Fire Brigade authorities
Sparking a blaze: Fire Brigade authorities rushed to Oberoi Mall in Goregaon on July 25 after a fire broke out on the third-floor food court. Authorities later said that the fire broke out owing to a short circuit. According to an official report, there have been a record number of fires causing damages worth Rs 5 lakh. File pic

While the report states that the fires occurred mainly due to short circuits, there were 13 major fires in which the loss of property amounted to Rs 5 lakh. The maximum fires were recorded in the month of December 2011, reaching a number of 659.

The consolidated report of incidents of fire in the city (copy with MiD DAY) will be presented before the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) standing committee this Wednesday. Rahul Shewale, BMC’s standing committee chairman, has also appealed for citizens to check their electric supply system.

“Normally short circuits take place because of rains. We have to be alert during the monsoon,” said a fire official on condition of anonymity. “If the number of units consumed has risen suddenly, it is sign of an overloaded cable, and the cables must be upgraded. Overloaded cables are bound to spark,” he added.

BMC said the fires were caused because of overloaded cables. “Old wiring and overloads are the main reason for short circuits, but what can we do? People have to take action on their own to avoid this problem,” said Suhas Joshi, BMC’s chief fire officer. He also said that people are not interested in learning fire safety. “We have organised awareness programmes, but have got a very low response from citizens. We are planning to launch another awareness programme in September,” Joshi added.

In order to avoid fire incidents in high-rises, the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, makes it compulsory for new buildings to have fire fighting equipment such as a fire extinguisher and a bi-annual certification from a licensed agency with regards to upgrading the system.

A report is then to be submitted to the fire department. There is a provision for the prosecution of agencies and parties that submit fake or faulty certificates. The law also makes it mandatory for every commercial building taller than 30 m to have a fire officer and fire personnel trained by the Maharashtra Fire Academy.

Main reasons for short circuit
>> Old wiring
>> Overload on low-capacity cable
>> Illegal connections
>> No proper maintenance 

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