Ferocious Fire – Tame the Fury

Fire and safety concerns are trivial in nature and even then most companies lose their business over this particular reason…especially where the companies are involved with global clients and exports.

Be it placing of fire extinguishers or their timely replacement, conducting mock drills, exit signs or any such empirical matter considerable concerns are not shown by the companies.

Aren’t we unnecessarily pushing human resources and other resources towards an uncalled for accident…

Tell me the truth or may be ask yourself- How many of you conduct a regular mock drill in your companies? How many employees are trained to use the extinguishers? Are you sure just a handful of people can take care of the fire(God Forbid) if that happens in a large facility. Some of you can very well pass the buck by saying that it is the administration department’s job and not HRs, but I’m afraid, my dear friends it is not the case. Each one of us is responsible for safety from fire.

What all things are important and need to be considered in terms of Fire Safety? May be this can work as your checklist:

# Fire hazards: Reporting of such things as overloaded electrical sockets and improperly contained flammable materials must be maintained as the responsibility of every employee.  Further, adherence to following safety procedures within the workplace is essential to preventing fires. It is imperative that if you see any possible fire hazard you immediately notify a manager. A huge proportion of fires are started by faulty electrical equipments. Storage cupboards full of paperwork or piles of empty cardboard boxes stacked against an outside wall are classic examples of potential hazards, providing plenty of fuel if a fire does start.

# Fire Safety and education: Actions in the event of a fire, while a fire is certainly a terrifying thing and not something to be taken lightly, it is also something that can be controlled and extinguished. Firstly, it is important that you do not attempt to handle the situation alone. Educating employees is very empirical for the prevention of fire, there are specialized training programs offered by many institutions and free lancers also, we need to get our staff trained about the know how of fire safety, prevention and to do list. Hand outs can also be given so that people can study them as and when they get the time, also educating them about cleanliness, hazardous material, fire causing material is also very important.

# Fire alarms: There are various types of alarms available in the market these days, we just need to ensure which suits the best for the facility and can be heard by all the employees when required. There are certain levels of sound an alarm should create, so do check before you install it in your premises.

# Means of escape – exit points; Clear signs of exit points should always be there in the premises, which can be readable and can be seen in the dark as well. Stairways, corridors and any such escape routes should be kept clear of all obstructions. Nothing should impede the evacuation route so that in the last minute there is no clearing required for these areas. Another important aspect is being human even in the times of difficulties, shoving and pushing people while escaping is actually being selfish and can invite another mishap like a stampede. So don’t forget the humanistic approach.

# Fire extinguisher training: Pulling the pin will allow you to squeeze the handle in order to discharge the extinguisher. Intending at the base of the fire helps as it souses easily; aiming at the middle will do no good.  The agent will pass through the flames, then Squeeze the handle which will release the pressurized extinguishing agent keep sweeping from side to side and cover the entire area that is on fire.  Continue until the fire is extinguished. Keep an eye on the area for re-lighting.

# Types of fire extinguishers:

@ CO2 type extinguishers contains carbon di oxide and can work on flammable liquids and solids, gases and electric wires

@ ABC type with nitrogen gas, which can take care of fire due to rubber products, paper, flammable gases, liquids and solids and electric related fire.

@ DCP Extinguisher contains sodium bi carbonate as the extinguisher media used for flammable liquids, gases, solids and fire from metal related.

@ Special DCP – which has synthetic foam to take care of fire rising from flammable liquids and solids.

# Mock drills: Conducting mock drills is again an important part of fire safety and education. Mock drills actually help in understanding the events that can occur at the time of fire and also prepare the employees to what to expect at the time of a fire and how to find an escape route and gather at a pre decided point.

# Sprinklers, Heat and smoke detectors: Smoke detectors are more efficient at detecting fire, precaution needs to be taken in installing them at the correct place and heat detectors can also be placed where chances of increased heat is high such as boilers and server rooms for example. Sprinklers help in dousing the fire and works when a predetermined temperature has been reached.

Just do not let the ferocious fire take unnecessarily advantage of ignorance… Just handle it with care and let it not destroy us.

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  • Balu

    Dear Archana,
    Very well written summarizing important points of Fire Safety. As you rightly pointed out many of us do not pay attention to minimum safety precautions.  I had a personal experience long back where I could prevent a Major loss of articles in a public place.  I used to read the instructions on the Extinguishers placed on the walls near the lift while waiting for the lift.  This helped me use the extinguishers myself and also instruct few others at the venue where a majour fire broke out in a Pandal during Pooja at Kolkatta

    I came across a news report where a Big MNC in  Bangalore harassed one of its workers who was insistent in trying to correct inadequacy of Fire Protection in the office as there was no safe exit and provision of emergency of ventilation points!  The employee had to report the matter to Police as the management threatened him with disciplinary action and possible dismissal for taking up flimsy complaints with Administration!!!

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks so much @838ca8c03e38bb6fe757d0c076408b03:disqus I sincerely hope we all should start taking fire safety seriously..i have seen ISO companies also just doing the work only during an inspection and most work is just paperwork. Mock drills are done only on sheets..Employees gets no training on extinguishers.and the list will go on and on.Its really high time when we should make people aware of their safety issues.

  • Shaikh Hrd

    Our organization believes that “NO JOB IS SO IMPORTANT AND CANNOT BE DONE SAFELY”. We never compromise on HSE and also educate our stakeholders. We are the world Leaders in Safety and others follow us. For this awareness is required among all of us.

  • Pankaj_maism

    Dear Archna,

    Very helpful n precised information. I think every employer should tie his belt to meet with these challenges, and to protect the mankind and property over there.

    Thanks * Rgds:

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you @cc68c08c37ed3f64d34caf2d6a5bba53:disqus ..I’m glad that your company is following HSE principles and procedures in effective manner. Why don’t you share some of the best practices with us on this forum..we would be fortunate to learn  with real life cases. Thanks again

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you @272a3e9c221d3e65c1e18114c2657454:disqus ..I”m sure the world is reading this and many such articles on safety…hope we should all start doing our bit to tame the angst of fire by minimizing human errors….:)

  • Giridhar reddy

    dear archana, it is excellent effort from your side. Still in our society, we need  a lot of improvement, Especially   the attitude of peoples towards fire safety and hazards. any how congrats from my sida-

    with regards-Giridhar reddy, fire officer, hyderabad, my mail id :giree_p@yahoo.com,mobile no is 9396586231

  • Sreenivas

    Dear Archana,
     Excellant effort from your end, still  improvement is needed, attitude of individuals had to change in fighting fire , safety towards  Fire hazards & regular mock drill practice must


  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hello Mr. @81ac1bcc25d7b62988ecc43af95ab50c:disqus thanks so much…coming this from a fire officer really means a lot. I agree people handling fire safety in organisations need to take it more seriously also the employer too..as i have seen in most cases just to save some money and time employers are ready to take risks..Thanks again for sharing your views, i would really appreciate if you can guide us more if something is missing out here….

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks @17e5e2fc24d2ab5c90c7e81ad091a815:disqus for sharing your insights with us..Hope people are taking some informative tips while reading this..:) 

  • Pawan Kumar Giri


    any leave policy for bpo outsource employees

  • Sujatha Suresh

    Informative and brigs reader to their feet…. aye aye sir…..

  • Rajivranjan

    Hi Archna Sharma
    I have been reading your articles recently which I find are very practical and lucid. The above article on fire is really educating.  A DMP (Disaster Management Plan) should also be in place esp in bigger offices where there are many floors and no. of employees. I would like to attach a small statement of do’s and don’ts which I hope would add value to your article.

    Dos & DON’T’s
    a Do liaison with local fire officer for organising first-aid/fire-fighting drills at regular intervals.
    a Don’t think fire-fighting is the job of the firemen only & not yours. In fact, it is
    the job of every one working in an installations
    b Do get defective electrical connections/appliances repaired/ replaced
    b Don’t connect electrical appliances as heaters, photocopiers, air conditioners, etc. to ordinary/ defective lines.
    c Do carry out periodic inspection of all wires & electric joints to prevent short-
    circuiting /electrical fires. Also remove /repair power cable/wire joints where overheating occurs/ re-occurs.
    c Don’t allow too many joints in the power lines.

    d Do keep all inflammable materials away from power lines/electrical appliances.
    d Don’t allow flammable oils to come in touch with electric cables.
    e Do ensure ventilation & prohibit smoking where flammable/ hazardous fluids are kept/used. Also display ‘No smoking’ sign boards near such fire prone areas.
    e Don’t allow vehicles without fire/smoke arresters to be in close vicinity of flammable/hazardous fluids. Also don’t allow bidi /cigarettes/match boxes into such fire-prone areas.
    f Do refill fire extinguishers at regular intervals
    f Don’t install fire extinguishers at places where they may not be required. Keep them at prominent/easily accessible place(s)
    g Do raise fire alarm, in case of fire shouting ‘Fire, Fire” to alert others
    g Don’t shirk your responsibility in fighting fire, however, minor, it may be
    h Do switch off electric supply to the fire effected area(s)
    h Don’t play with electric appliances during fire
    i Do inform nearest fire station about exact location of the fire.
    i Don’t panic in case of fire.
    j Do guide the firemen to the location of fire
    j Don’t block the fire exit routes.
    k Do remove sensitive/ most important documents first, if possible, in case of fire.
    k Don’t remove heavy furniture during fire as it may impede movement of Firemen/ Rescue party.
    l Do try to segregate combustible material immediately from the place of fire.
    l Don’t pour water in case of electric fire.
    m Do provide clear passage to the fire engine/ fire brigade to reach the place of fire.
    m Don’t crowd around the fire brigade as it may affect their operations.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you @47e09ef6618bd83f45382fa8c6130c85:disqus for sharing these Dos and Don’t..I’m sure people reading this article will surely go through these dos and don’ts also, which indeed will help them fight ferocious fire.Thanks again for the appreciation..:) keep reading and sharing 

  • rajiv sabharwal

    nice thoughts mam , tomorrow itself i’m going to check apply all these things in my office

  • Ramswaroop Jhajhariya

    Dear Archana,
    Excellent efforts.Conducting regular Mock drills and training sessions for all will help a lot.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you Mr @4ac896d8f9e820078193df6f78864187:disqus I’m sure it will be of help.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you @de5f8e63259bef4fa4aa1f22fc9edcf1:disqus .actually yes, training sessions on fire safety will surely cover all the things mentioned above..:)