Fire detection and safety industry has a critical role to play in any industrial, public, commercial, residential set up. Rohit Harjani elaborates on the tips to ensure fire detection and safety in India.
Prevention and safety from fire is probably one of the most overlooked areas in India. Basic necessities like fire detection systems in residential places or in commercial spaces are not in a good state and in some cases, the systems are not installed at all. What might be the worst part is that most of the incidents like the recent tragedy at the Odisha hospital or the latest Coimbatore tragedy could have been prevented via proper maintenance contract awarded to a system integrator for maintaining the fire detection system and the fire-fighting system. Presently and in future by the application of smart solutions in new buildings such as Building Information Modelling (BIM ), installation hurdles can be avoided at inception stage. BIM has become a global phenomenon in the fire safety industry wherein virtual designs are built in three dimensions before work proceeds on construction sites or commercial buildings.
By introducing national programmes such as Make in India and Smart Cities Mission, the Indian economy is at the cusp of a revolutionary transformation and a seamless fire safety system is going to be one of the focus areas during the planning of infrastructure development where advanced fire detection technology of international standards will become an essential part at construction sites, buildings, schools, hospitals etc.
The fire safety market has progressed significantly over the past couple of years as innovative fire safety products with new technology are being introduced in the Indian market.
According to India Fire & Safety Equipment Market Forecast & Opportunities, this sector is expected to grow by $98.4 billion by 2022. Fire hazards are always overlooked until the calamity hits the peak and the situation gets irreparable and beyond control. There is a gap in the maintenance of installed equipment at commercial buildings and most of the old building do not have escape routes in case of fire. Fire safety awareness as well as preparedness is important at all times which should be followed diligently through timely inspections and enforcement. The concern of fire safety is still at its nascent stage in India. By paying heed to the below tips, it is possible to prevent mishaps and serious injuries.
Prevent electrical fires
Never overload circuits or extension cords and try to avoid placing cords and wires under rugs. This can damage the cords, causing them to overheat and cause a fire. Electrical equipment safety (for usage) audit must be conducted every year in all commercial spaces by a Chartered Engineer.
Keep accurate records
The log books for both fire safety and lighting systems should be updated after each maintenance visit. If any issue with the system is observed, one must make sure that the findings are recorded in the book.
Check emergency exits on a regular basis
The exit of any building, constructions sites, hospitals, schools, etc, should be checked on a regular basis to ensure compliance with fire safety legislation. The areas next to the exit should be lit to enable safe evacuation in case of an emergency. Ensure maintenance of fire detection system along with other fire fighting and security systems
Fire detection systems need to be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure optimum performance by carefully following the manufacturers´ instructions. Emergency lighting systems, smoke detectors, etc, that rely on battery, should be kept fully charged to provide the minimum three hour illumination in the event of power outrage. The life expectancy of smoke detectors is generally 8-10 years, so make sure that they are replaced after that period. The fire detection and safety industry has a critical role to play in any industrial, public, commercial, residential set up.
The author is Country Manager - Indian Sub-continent Region for Hochiki, a global leader in fire detection and fire alarm products.