Besides government buildings, buses, trains and airplanes too are at risk of catching fire. There are no regular fire drills and most fire hydrants are in a bad condition.
The fire at Mantralaya has once again necessitated the need to equip the Mumbai fire brigade with helicopters.
A strong lobby of bureaucrats and builders want to make Mumbai a vertical city.
But when it took hours to douse off the fire in the seven-storey Mantralaya, one can only imagine how long will it take to deal with fire in a highrise.
Besides, how many highrises have fire escape chutes? Not even the new administrative building or the Vidhan Sabha building opposite the Mantralaya have them.
Again, meter rooms of most residential buildings are right at the entrance. This in itself is a great fire hazard. In case of a short-circuit in these meter boxes, there is no way out.
On their part, the residents too have some responsibilities. We are constantly buying heavy-duty technological appliances. The old wiring in our flats cannot take the load of new gadgets. — Deendayal M Lulla
Every building should participate in fire drills
Most buildings in the city, old and new, are ill-equipped and constructed without taking fire-risks into account.
Often, fire engines cannot reach buildings due to congested roads and wrongly parked vehicles. Shortage of water is another problem.
Mumbai really needs to upgrade its fire-fighting mechanism. Every building should have an annual fire audit. Illegal shops on footpaths should be demolished to broaden roads for ambulances and fire engines to move swiftly, in case of an emergency.
The solutions are endless, but with limited manpower and money, basic needs such as more fire engines and ambulances are really vital. — SN Kabra
Train people on basics of combating fire
I have rarely seen a fire extinguisher in markets, schools or at bus depots or railway stations. Even housing societies barely keep a check on their fire extinguishers, that is, if they have one. We need a concerted effort to educate the common man on potential fire hazards and what or he or she should do in case a fire breaks out.
Fire brigade personnel should also organise workshops to train security guards on how to use a fire extinguisher and impart basic minimum training in fire-fighting and rescue operations. — KP Rajan
Do we know how to use a fire extinguisher?
Public places, including government buildings, malls and cinema halls are constructed with little attention given to fire safety measures. This is a great risk to the lives of several
I won’t be surprised if fire extinguishers at most of these crowded places are not even functional.
Besides, I doubt how many of us know how to use a fire extinguisher.
Today, citizens face a looming threat to their lives as the government has failed to implement
fire-safety policies. — Ketan R Meher
City needs frequent audits, fire hydrants
The fire at Mantralaya seems to be a an eye opener. The BMC has finally ordered a survey of fire hydrants across the city.
But instead of appointing external agencies, why can’t the local corporators conduct the survey in their wards and submit their reports directly to the BMC? The corporators know their areas well. They also have supporters willing to carry out such surveys.
However, I think just a one-off survey will not help. The BMC should periodically conduct fire-safety surveys and audits, instead of waiting for another major fire.— Rajesh Ashar