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Analysis of recent fire accident by Fire & Security Association of India

India: Fire and Security Association of India (FSAI), a non-profit organization representing the Fire Protection, Life Safety, Security, Loss Prevention, Risk Management domains and committed to foster a spirit of safe living among all citizens of India and inculcate a proactive mind-set towards safety and security at all times.

FSAI conducts fire safety and life safety audits in association with the fire brigade to promote and advance the use of fire safety and security systems. It also aims to work closely with the Government and other stakeholders to enable the Indian fire and security industry to reach global pre-eminence with better regulatory framework

 Mr. Manoj Shenoy, President, FSAI Mumbai chapter is sharing an analysis and insights on the preventive steps that could have taken to avoid the massive fire incidents . The interaction will broadly analyze the loop holes or measures that could have saved the fire accidents. This will help to build awareness and prepare the Indian society to curb such devastating situations.

 Recently, there have many tragic fire incidents across India that claimed innocent lives mainly due to sloppiness of the administration, lack of safety measures, FSAI team has prepared an analysis report for the following incidents:

  1.  Major fire breaks out at military canteen in South Mumbai
  2.  Major fire at set of Balaji Telefilms’ ‘Yeh Hai Mohabbatein’ in Chandivli
Military Canteen Fire Incident
Location: Dockyard Road, South Mumbai
Date of the accident: 25-Oct-2014 

Analysis

As a canteen typically houses various types of combustible materials such cooking oil, liquor, clothing materials, paper products, it should ideally have a Fire Alarm System with special type of detectors (IR) to detect flaming fires, as liquor (alcohol) fire does not generate smoke at incipient stage. Canteen should have been fitted with sprinkler system. Our experience says, they neither have a FAS or Sprinkler system. Even if FAS is present, it is kept off.

The light fittings inside canteen should be flame proof enclosed fittings.

Apart from keeping conventional type of extinguishers, they should have ceiling mounted modular extinguishers of ABC powder type. As a preventive measure, all electrical supply to canteen should be switched off before closing the canteen. This may or may not be possible, if they have UPS backup or Deep freezer.

Electrical preventive maintenance and Thermal Imaging of electrical systems should be carried out on regular basis.

Fire incident in Balaji Telefilms set:

Location: Chandivli, Mumbai

Date of the accident: 24-Oct-2014

Analysis

A serial set is typically made from temporary wooden and coir material with MS support. Apart from this, the decorative material used is mostly silk / cotton cloths. The light man standing overhead on Tarappa is supported by thick wooden planks, again a combustible material. The asbestos roof is covered with coal tar sheet and Damber, for water proofing, which is again a petroleum product. This means a typical serial set consists mostly of combustible materials from bottom (flooring, walls) to top (Tarappa and Roof).

The source of heat / spark may come from a short circuit, loose wires running across the length and breadth of the film set, welding, cutting work, LPG cylinder used by local caterer to serve lunch to people working at film set.

We have seen that few sets have installed detectors, during the audits of FSAI team at Balaji Telefilms & Famous Studios, but the panel is kept off during shooting, as the director does not want to be disrupted by accidental activation of hooters. No point having a system which is kept off when it is really needed.

Security guards are not trained in fire fighting. No trained fire supervisor is deployed by the studio to ensure all fire systems are maintained to carryout fire fighting when required.

As per the guidelines of fire safety, just installing the fire safety systems will not suffice, the most important is deploying qualified and trained fire personnel during each shift.

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