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The Rising Need to Prioritize Fire Safety in Modern Homes

Vijay Dalwani, Chairman, Pyrosecure

With its sheer size and population, rapid urbanisation, and unplanned infrastructure growth, mainly in densely populated areas, India has become the “fire accidents” capital of the world. In a city like Mumbai, approx. 30 fire accidents are reported on a daily basis, with 60% of them arising out of electrical short circuits.

Another perspective to have a serious introspection on is that India’s fire safety infrastructure and personnel are not adequate for the size of the population and modernisation. Hence, a small fire hazard usually results in a major accident, causing loss of life and property.

The current fire protection measures in modern buildings do not account for all contemporary fire hazard issues, making fire safety a growing concern.

When a fire accident occurs, it has various implications on people’s lives.  The major setback is:

1.    Loss of Property – Modern homes in cities are quite expensive, coupled with high-cost interiors, white goods and essential items, which are always at risk of being burnt down, causing loss of investment and property.

2.    Loss of Life – More than the loss of investment or money, the loss of life or near and dear ones has a lasting impact on people’s lives.

3.    Legal Complications – Most residential infrastructure is unaware of complicated and confusing fire safety rules and does not follow the guidelines due to a lack of awareness or seriousness. Usually, after a fire accident, buildings and homes end up in legal and compliance complications with the authorities.

4.    Trauma – A scary fire accident leaves a lot of psychological issues and trauma in the minds of affected people due to the economic and social damage done by the accident.

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5.    Awareness – Most of the time, people are of the opinion that the builder or construction company must have adhered to all fire safety norms, and it’s not their responsibility to care for their safety.  The second scarier thought is that people think nothing will happen to them, and they cannot be vulnerable to any safety hazards.

The need of the hour is a comprehensive safety approach, encompassing a detailed analysis of the root cause of major fire accidents.  As per the statistics, 60% to 65% of fire accidents are due to “electrical short circuits”, and hence this element should be considered the primary factor in our fire safety strategy.

An electrical short circuit happens in a small, compact space inside the electrical plug point or switchboard.  Usually, the vulnerable points in a home are the switches that are always ON. We use the appliance remote controls to operate them—points such as the TV, Refrigerator, AC, Geyser, and other appliances.

There is a serious need to prioritise this important aspect and cover these vulnerable points to ensure that the fire incident due to a short circuit does not result in a major fire accident as a result of the fire spreading out of the switchboard to the entire house.