It's time to be better prepared in safety matters

Published: Feb 25, 2020, 05:07 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

A report stated that all civic buildings, including hospitals, schools and ward offices along with other office buildings will be audited

BMC
BMC

At a review meeting held between Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner Praveen Pardeshi and Fire Department officials recently, it was decided that the Fire and Electrical Departments will conduct audits of all municipal properties.

A report stated that all civic buildings, including hospitals, schools and ward offices along with other office buildings will be audited. In a first, the Fire Department will also carry out evacuation drills at these sites. This action has been triggered after a fire broke out at the GST Bhavan in Mazagaon. The fire had spread rapidly across the ninth and 10th floors, destroying files, though thankfully there were no injuries or casualties.

This makes us think though about why it takes a calamity or a near miss to wake us up and take action. The audits should have been conducted at municipal properties and it should not take a fire to wake us up to do so.

Now that this has been planned, we can only hope it takes place with utmost seriousness and more importantly, with regularity. It is meaningless if this were to start with great fervour, only to lapse or be forgotten completely in some time.

If the audit throws up findings like non-existent or non-functional firefighting equipment, then corrective action should be taken immediately. Evacuation drills are vital and all participants must be well trained in the evacuation procedure. We have to remember that municipal properties are usually very crowded, so it is imperative that these audits be given priority henceforth.

Firefighting is a combination of so many factors but the primary one is preparedness. Let us shed our ‘we will see when it happens’ attitude and become proactive rather than reactive in matters of safety.

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