HomeIndustry News'Fire safety should be an integral part of a Co's work policy'

‘Fire safety should be an integral part of a Co’s work policy’

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One of the most crucial metrics of gauging a safe and secure workplace is the company’s track record of ensuring a shielded and accident-free work environment.

Among the miscellaneous accidents that can occur in a factory, fire incidents come out to be a common yet hazardous form of incident.

It is thus the onus on companies to make sure that they provide for a safe and guarded workplace while making sure their units are adequately equipped with the necessary firefighting equipment and have designated people trained in fighting fires.

‘Industry should ensure fire safety norms. Fire safety should not be an extra burden on the company’s management but an integral part of their decision making process’ said Mr D Niranjan Reddy, Regional Fire Officer, Zone-1, Viskahapatnam speaking to Vizag Industrial Scan.

Following a spurt of fire mishaps in the city’s greater industrial area the Andhra Pradesh state disaster and fire service realised that many times companies weren’t well prepared to deal with these hazardous incidents.

‘One of our key learnings through these recent fire incidents has been the absence of firefighting equipment coupled with lack of technical know-how on using the equipment’ noted Mr Reddy.

As on Oct 12th 2023 out of a total 342 active industries (both in red & orange categories) in the 3 districts (Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam) a total of 277 industries were found to have a NOC from the Fire Department while 65 industries were functioning without a NOC from the fire department. 

Thereby 19% of industries were found to be functioning without a NOC from the Fire Department.

‘We have already issued violation notices to these industries’ said Mr Reddy.

It is often smaller and medium size companies that are caught off-guard in effectively dealing with a fire mishap.

‘I must say that 90% of the larger industries such as MNCs typically have a well prepared and robust fire response team. 

However it is the micro, small and some medium industries whose ERTs (Emergency response teams) need to be strengthened’ noted Mr Reddy.

The department therefore has been on a mission mode to ensure that industries and their personnel are better prepared in tackling a fire incident.

From frequent mock drills to awareness and training programs the department has undertaken a slew of activities that are helping units be better prepared for an unwanted fire incident.

‘We have been conducting special drives across the state to further keep a check on orange and red category industries’ said Mr Niranjan Reddy.

As per norms industrial units are supposed to carry out mock drills once in every 3 months wherein the fire department’s officers also participate and monitor the preparedness of the company’s staff in case of an unwanted fire occurrence. 

The department has also undertaken a series of training programs wherein it conducts 3 day fire safety training to industry personnel.

‘These training programs are currently being conducted in 4 of my 6 districts i.e. Srikakulam, Vizianagram, Visakhapatnam and Anakapalli. 

We have trained 40 persons per district per month over the past 6 months resulting in over 960 people trained’ informed Mr Reddy. 

In Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram these training programs are also extended to hospitals and other commercial entities.

It is mandatory for companies to have at least 15% of their manpower trained by the Fire Department.

As one would imagine one of the foremost things that the department trains people in is ensuring adequate fire fighting equipment is installed at the unit, making sure it is functioning and more importantly that the company’s staff are aware of its usage.

Similarly the department also carries out various awareness drives. The department conducts an awareness program once every week.

Empowering thru Tech

The department has also been actively engaging new technologies which can better address emergency calls. They are working on an integrated command centre so that all factories are aligned with the fire department for immediate response. ‘This is being worked on an IoT model’ said Mr Reddy.

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