According to the Pinkerton India Risk Survey 2017 report released by FICCI, the risk of fire has been ranked 5th in the list of risks that our country faces. The report also says that the majority of fire accidents were reported in Maharashtra, which accounted for 22% of all the fire incidents reported. Furthermore, the report places fire in the top 3 risks in industries like Education, Hospitality, Infrastructure, Media & Entertainment, Medical Services, and Retail.
The high number of casualties and material damage caused by fires is due to lax and inadequate safety provisions and response mechanisms says the report. The risks in the public and private sector are almost equal. The number of reported fire incidents with loss of life and physical/material damage continues to rise.
A fire, accidental or otherwise, is likely to cause 12 times more deaths than injuries as per 2018 National Crime Records Data. In 2018, the Mumbai Fire Brigade recorded 3987 fire calls from March to December 2018. Illegal constructions, fire non-compliant extensions, encroachments & material blocking exits, fire hazardous goods all contribute to the risk of fire says Mumbai Fire Brigade.
90% of fires can be prevented by intelligent facility management says Saurabh Agarwal, Director, UNIFY Facility Management.
He highlights certain tips that will help prevent accidental fires. He believes that if implemented, loss of life and material damage can be prevented.
Always ensure accessibility to electrical control panels. Remember that any material stored near or in front of panels interfere in power shut down during emergencies. Check if your sprinklers, firefighting equipment are in good condition. Emergency exits must always be kept clutter free and ensure that materials are stacked in a way that movement is easy.
Ensure that you deploy a housekeeping partner or employees who understand the risks of fire and the importance of proactive cleaning. Clutter is a great fuel for fires and hinders with movement if stored at the exits. Take the necessary precautions to ensure that the workplace is as clutter-free as possible.
Correct Disposal of Waste:
Oily rags, fire-prone materials like wood, paper, and other material must be placed in a proper place and discarded immediately. No hoarding of materials of any kind at any time.
Maintenance of machines:
Machines at the workplace must be properly maintained as per a regular chart. This will prevent overheating and sparks that can be caused due to friction. Plan your maintenance schedules so that downtime and fire risks are reduced.
Electrical dangers must be reported:
Always keep your eyes open. Report any hazards to the authorities immediately. Unless you are qualified and have the authority, never try to repair electrical equipment. Faulty wires and incorrectly functioning electrical equipment are a key cause for workplace fires.
Chemical use and storage must be done safely:
Chemical materials come with clear instructions on usage and safety. It is critical to read the instructions and follow them properly. Ensure that chemicals are stored in a well-ventilated space.
A fire, accidental or otherwise, is likely to cause 12 times more deaths than injuries as per 2018 National Crime Records Data.
Identify explosive areas and implement precautionary measures:
Ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres can lead to a dangerous fire. Areas where flammable liquid vapors or fine particles need to be dealt with necessary precaution including non-sparking tools and proper static electricity control.
Prevention of Building fires:
Surprising as it may seem but an arsonist usually enters the building from the front entrance. Lock up as per the instructions, maintain strict vigilance in the building, implement a visitor management system as a deterrent and report suspicious people. Never leave combustible garbage outside or near your premises.
There should always be a proper area allocated for smoking. Ensure that all the workers who smoke use it. Ensure that there is a proper facility to extinguish the smoking materials.
Charge your fire extinguishers:
Maintenance of fire extinguishers is often ignored. Ensure that you check them regularly and make sure they are charged and ready to use. Encourage all workers to learn how to use a fire extinguisher.
Display emergency contact numbers, company address at prominent locations. Ensure that phone stations are available at regular intervals throughout the premises.
Fire & Safety Audit:
At least once a year, call a professional agency who will conduct a complete fire and safety audit at your workplace. Once the results are out, ensure you take the necessary steps to ensure that the risks are reduced.
Fire and safety training and drill:
Once a quarter, conduct a professional fire and safety drill. Ensure that all the workers attend the same and understand its importance.
UNIFY Facility Management has been providing good housekeeping, expert facility management, electrical maintenance, fire, and safety audit and training drills across industry verticals for the past decade. The company vouches for impacting more than a million lives through 300 clients and 5000 employees across 15 cities in India.