Govt staff fail fire safety test

Jun 23, 2012, 07:57 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

A MiD DAY survey reveals that most don't know what an emergency exit is, how to use a fire extinguisher and have not been given any practical training

Even as the city mulls over the fire that engulfed the Mantralaya and the failure of safety measures at the seat of power, there are other burning questions that need to be answered.

Safety 101: A firefighter looks out from the charred Mantralaya building. Officials who were surveyed said that they were not aware of what an emergency exit was. Pic/afp

While the public and security analysts question why it took four hours to douse the flames, why alarms and hydrants were non-functional and conspiracy theories surface, MiD DAY conducted a survey among staff members from government offices to see how aware they are of fire norms and what instructions to follow during such situations.

While several individuals were asked, only seven government officials from Old Customs House, Churchgate station, CST station and St George’s hospital came forward and answered questions about fire safety norms and unfortunately, most failed to pass the test. During the course of questioning, MiD DAY found that most officials were not even aware of what an emergency exit was, nor had they ever used a fire extinguisher.

What training?
Out of the seven questioned, only the motormen revealed that they had been provided hands-on training, whereas the others were provided with theoretical training.

R D Kamble, a security guard from Churchgate station said, “We were provided with training during a 20-day camp. However, it was only theoretical knowledge. Most of us do not know how to use a fire extinguisher.”

M S Thambe, an X-ray technician from St George’s hospital, said, “Our staff hasn’t been provided with any training for fire fighting till date, but I think we are supposed to learn.” 

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