Post by on Monday, April 25, 2022
Over the years, the valley is witnessing a surge in the number of fire incidents and there seems no end in that regard. In the latest incident, the fire that broke out in congested Namchibal area of Fateh kadal consumed six residential houses making life difficult to the affected families. As per the officials, Srinagar city has reported 146 fire incidents during the first three months of 2022. This is a grave public concern and needs immediate attention from the government and the concerned authorities. Besides other factors, lack of basic safety measures, leakage of LPG cylinders, short circuits in residential houses etc., alone account for 80 percent of the fire incidents. Furthermore, non-implementation of Fire Safety Guidelines to ensure that safety equipments are installed in buildings has also been blamed for the frequent fire accidents. Unplanned urbanization has exposed Srinagar to many civic problems, including the vulnerability to fire accidents. In some areas of the city, houses are stacked so close together that every time a fire breaks out, there is every chance of it spreading far and wide causing maximum damage. In many areas of the city, there is no adequate fire gap between the houses and as result when fire breaks out in these localities fire brigade cannot douse the flames effectively. In the not so distant past, the city has witnessed several major fire incidents in which scores of houses were gutted because the congestion posed a major hurdle to the fire tenders. This helplessness has been evident in some of the most congested localities of Srinagar where property worth crores has been reduced to ashes in recent years. While the affected people keep accusing fire and emergency services department of inaction, officials blame people for negligence. The fire management has been affected by the deficiencies pertaining to fire stations, fire fighting, rescue vehicles and manpower. The Fire & Emergency Services (J&K) was established in the year 1893 as Srinagar Fire Brigade. There is a dire need to upgrade the training programme for Fire Service personnel to equip them to deal with the modern day challenges. So far instead of taking a holistic view of the problems facing effective fire management, the government’s response has at best been relief-centric. Though we often hear of extending cash compensation for the fire victims, we hardly hear of any major decision being taken to avert such incidents. The ‘band-aid approach’ has meant that there has been no proper policy for mitigation, prevention, preparedness and fast response during fire calamities. There is always a scope of improvement, provided the authorities show willingness in this regard.