Winter fire safety
Post by RK News on Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Winter brings its own afflictions in Kashmir. Snow and cold are not the only elements to put off the administration as well as people. The increasing number of fire incidents in winter months is also a cause of fear and worry. In the last few years, fires have consumed residential and commercial properties, caused serious damage to life and passed on without drawing any serious attention. With dozens of shops gutted and homes leveled each year, the officials and the people should have drawn lessons. Unfortunately they haven’t as fires in Kashmir around this time are only a spark away. These incidents, often resulting from the use of traditional heating devices, pose a considerable threat to life and property, a challenge that demands urgent attention and strategic action. The reliance on traditional heating devices such as 'Bukharis' or 'Kangris' and low cost unsafe heating appliances has been a long-standing practice for the Kashmiri populace to combat the severe winter cold. However, these devices, though effective, are not without their risks. They have been identified as leading causes of fire incidents in the valley, especially during the winter months, due to mishandling or malfunctions. The damage caused by these fires is not limited to material destruction. They often result in tragic loss of life and injury. Moreover, they add to the distress of the already challenging winter months, further straining the UT’s medical and emergency resources. Addressing this issue requires a multi-faceted approach. Experts are of the opinion that there is an urgent need to raise awareness about the safe usage of traditional heating devices. This education can be disseminated through social media platforms, schools, and public service announcements on radio and television. The government, NGOs, and general public must work together to ensure that safety guidelines reach every household in the valley. Furthermore, an investment in modern heating solutions that are both efficient and safe is necessary. The government should consider subsidizing the cost of these heaters for lower-income households to encourage their adoption. Additionally, concerned authorities should consider enforcing stricter safety standards for manufacturers of traditional heating devices to reduce the risk of malfunctions. Also, Fire and Emergency Department need to be better equipped to handle such incidents. This means not only investing in modern fire-fighting equipment but also providing intensive training to the firefighters to improve their efficiency and response times. A well-funded, well-trained fire service can significantly reduce the damage caused by these incidents. The creation of a comprehensive fire safety policy for the Kashmir valley is of paramount importance. This policy should include mandatory fire safety education, regulations for construction and housing, and a strong, effective response plan for when fires do occur. As we brace for another winter in the valley, it is crucial that the severity of this issue is acknowledged and addressed to ensure a safe and untroubled winter for all its inhabitants.