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Simple safety steps can prevent big blazes

Most, if not all, fires can be contained if only citizens took to installing proper safety measures.

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Simple safety steps can prevent big blazes
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Most, if not all, fires can be contained if only citizens took to installing proper safety measures. This is especially true of fires caused by short-circuits, which can be prevented by little electronic precautions like circuit-breakers.

Even as memories of the recent Tardeo blaze incident are fresh, the Mumbai fire brigade and BEST officials have urged citizens to give priority to fire-safety measures by installing effective fire-resistant systems. The Tardeo fire on March 15, like many other fires before, was reportedly caused by a short-circuit before it spread to the upper floors of the ground plus three-storey Ganpat Vete Sadan.

As per the data available with the BMC’s fire department, of the 23,222 fire cases reported in the past five years (2006-07 to 2010-11), most attribute themselves to short-circuits. “I am not aware of the Tardeo incident in detail, but in general, it is observed developers/ people use remaining space for installing meter boxes/ rooms, especially close to or beneath a staircase. That is not the right way to go. We all want electricity, so safety should be given high priority,” said PM Shinde, BEST chief engineer (maintenance).

While advocating a separate yet accessible space for installing meter/junction box, Shinde said, apart from taking the simple precaution of seeing that the wires do not come in contact of water, proper earthing is the key to the safety of a home or a residential structure. “Earth-leakage circuit breaker (ELCB), a system that trips if something goes wrong, is a safe option to prevent short-circuits,” he suggested.

BMC deputy chief fire officer AR Patil said the department has always been recommending use of modern fire-resistant systems at new residential buildings. “Old structures cannot have modern systems installed, but we recommend developers/people to have in-built fire systems in new or redeveloped constructions. Such systems will ensure things don’t go out of hand before our men respond to a fire call,” Patil concluded.

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