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L.Srikumar Pai
B.Sc( Engg.), MIE, MIWWA, MICI
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Fire Safety Tips For Preventing Fire

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Firefighting is the act of extinguishing fires. A firefighter fights fires to prevent loss of life, and/or destruction of property and the environment. Firefighting is a highly technical skill that requires professionals who have spent years training in both general firefighting techniques and specialized areas of expertise.

Building, whether used for living, working, entertainment or for other purposes, forms an integral and major constituent of human habitat. As a sequel to the all round socio-economic progress, and the steady urbanisation processes gathering momentum all over our country for the past few decades, there has been enormous increase in the number of buildings of all classifications, including high-rise and special buildings, especially in the urban and surrounding areas. With the technological advances on all fronts, not only the factor of susceptibility, but the complexity of fires, explosions and the hazards which these buildings are exposed to have also increased many fold. These hazards have been instrumental in causing heavy losses in lives and property throwing up fresh challenges to planners, architects and fire protection services in evolving better and improved methods of design and fire protection in order to
mitigate such losses.

Fire Safety Tips For Preventing Fire Mishaps in Apartments

Fire break out in residential apartment or commercial building can result damaging property and even result in loss of life of residents or occupants in building. Fire safety is often a component of building safety. Officials from fire department inspects the building to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a fire that may result in death or injury of occupants and avoid property damage. The building that follows norms and condition of fire department gets No Objection Certificate from fire department.

Role of property manager to Prevent fire mishaps

Apartment owners association, property manager and owners of commercial building can play a vital role in preventing fire mishaps in their apartment complex or commercial building. If any fire break out, occupants of building should be able to reach out of building safely. Measures or steps to prevent fire is important. Following measures and steps has to be taken to prevent fire emergency.

Emergency Evacuation Plan: Emergency evacuation plans or building evacuation plans are important for all buildings such as residential apartments, high-rise or commercial buildings.

Mock Drills at regular interval: Drills make you aware of emergency exits and how to react during a fire accident. Hold mock drills at regular intervals to create awareness on procedures to be followed in times of an evacuation.

Keep oxygen cylinders and masks: On higher floors, it is necessary to keep oxygen cylinders and masks to prevent smoke inhalation. This is especially useful for those with respiratory disorders for whom smoke inhalation can be very dangerous.

Medical Kits: On every floor, there should be medical kit including creams for burns, pain killers, bandages, splints, inhalers for asthmatics and IV fluids. People with paramedical training can manage the administration of these medications easily. Ensure to keep drinking water in each floor.

No illegal construction:
The building owners comply with all norms before obtaining an occupancy certificate and NOC from concerned department. But the problem starts when violations take place after the construction.These Illegal constructions often creates problem to fire department or ambulance in providing its service during emergency.In some buildings exit path will be blocked or doors would be locked which obstructs the path during an emergency.

Never store Diesel or LPG: In commercial buildings petrol, diesel or LPG will be stored in terrace for future use such as fueling generator or gas for pantry etc. Diesel or gas cylinders should be stored in underground safety tanks away from the main building. Preferably, store them in an open space away from electrical wires and fire.

Emergency Lights: Emergency lights enables building occupants to safely escape the building in the event of a power failure. Emergency lights become a critical element of a high-rise safety system in the event of a power failure. In many high-rise buildings emergency lights are connected to the building fire alarm system.

Update fire-fighting equipment: Property manager or apartment owners association must ensure that fire-fighting equipments are in good working conditions. Nowadays, latest fire-fighting equipment such as portable fire extinguishers, fire alarms that automatically turn on during a fire, sprinklers that turn on water automatically, as well as new warning devices such as the ‘break the glass’ systems etc are easily available in shops specialized for fire-fighting equipments.

Simple steps to follow during emergency

Public address systems on each floor: Very often, panic reactions lead to stampedes and unfortunate deaths. Every building should be equipped with public address systems on each floor. Repeated reassurances are needed to calm people and prevent panic from taking over. Every floor should have a ‘manager’.These people should be in charge of managing the situation on the floor through an evacuation process. The basic skills required are calm response, awareness of basic safety measures and some paramedical training.

Call the Fire Rescue Department:
During fire in your building or apartment, leave the premises by nearest available exit. Call fire department and do not assume anyone else has called the fire department. Never use lift for leaving the premises or apartment during emergency. If your cloth catches fire, do not get panic or run, stop, drop and roll.

Cover your nose and mouth with a wet clean cloth: Stay calm Cover your nose and mouth with a wet, clean cloth to prevent smoke inhalation injury and choking. Never jump off or attempt to climb down the side of a tall building as it will mean certain death.
Do not run: During a fire, smoke containing poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide tends to rise up.When you run in a smoke-filled room, you tend to inhale the smoke faster. Carbon monoxide dulls the senses and prevents clear thinking, leading to panic. To prevent being asphyxiated, dip tissues or cloth in water and cover your nose with it.

Head-count of the occupants: During an emergency, make good use of the evacuation procedure and help each other to reach out of building safely.Ensure nobody is left behind by doing a head-count of occupants. Visitors should read and understand the evacuation plan before going into a building and ensure their safety.

( Courtesy: : Commonfloor is India's first real estate portal dedicated to apartments and gated communities. It is also the first to host an online community management platform that extends its role way beyond buying, selling or renting properties. They aim to be a one-stop solution for all apartment needs; from finding to managing and connecting with the apartment community. )




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