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How can we be safe around Fire?


How-can-we-be-safe-around-fire

Fire may break out in anywhere at any time. Everybody must know about fire safety precautions at least possible level to prevent fire incidents and how to react in case of a fire accident as well. So that we could protect ourselves from fire injuries. As far as our day-to-day life is concerned, safety on fire can be categorized into three sections such as safety at home, safety at workplace and safety at common places. When safety at home is concerned, gas cylinder is the major reason in causing fire incidents in houses. To avoid this, gas stove should be completely switched off when not in use. Secondly, electrical wiring connections must be verified often to find any short cuts and faults. Moreover, the toxic and inflammable materials should be kept in safe places avoiding direct sunlight.

When workplace is concerned, we must clearly know the routes leading to emergency exits, the locations where fire alarms are fixed, how to use Fire Extinguishers and maintain good house-keeping around our premises. Those who work with toxic substances should wear Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) without fail. We should strictly adhere to fire safety rules and regulations of workplace in order to protect ourselves and others. In case of fire accident in common places, we have to vacate from the spot as soon as possible as there could be subsequent explosions due to the fire that has already broken out.

What is fire and safety Management?


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The aim of fire and safety management is to ensure that adequate safety measures are implemented in the organisation to prevent fire accidents. This management system consists various aspects such as identifying the potential risks due to fire, creating safety policy, planning & monitoring of fire prevention methods and reviewing of system. The effective implementation of this system will prevent or minimize the accidents as low as reasonably possible, thereby prevents or minimizes the injuries and fatalities as the result.

In fire and safety management system, the risk identification stage traces the places and events that could lead to fire accidents and identifies the people who may be vulnerable to accidents. The safety policy consists policy statement, responsibilities of the people involved and the arrangements to be made in the premises. The monitoring process analyses the effective functioning of the safety arrangements by carrying out performance measures. Review process is the essential element in this system, which assesses the effective functioning of the existing one. The appropriate changes that required in the system could be adapted once the review process is over.

Fire outbreak in HPCL Oil tank due to lightning


The globe where we live, is being very active with innumerable natural activities on its surface at every moment. It ranges from the movement of electrons in a minuscule atom to vast phenomenons such as sunrise, thunder, rain, lightning, cyclones and etc. Inspite of the fact that nature is supporting the mankind in all possible ways, sometimes we are troubled by event such as lightning, unavoidably.

We all know, the various causes for fire accidents are electric short circuit, unquenched flames of cooking devices, manual negligence, oil spillage, overheating and many more. Apart from all these reasons, lightning is one of the cause for fire accidents and it occurs because of very high electric charge difference developed in the cloud.

About the incident

Recently, a minor fire accident happened in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on 29th of July at 7 pm. The lightning hit the crude oil storage tank, which holds thousands of liters of oil and fire blaze broke out from the tanker immediately. Fire tenders rushed to the spot immediately and firemen settled the fire within an hour without any casualty. Fortunately, there was continuous and heavy rainfall, which minimized the effects of the incident; otherwise fire could have spread to nearby oil tanks.

Risks due to lightning

  • There are nearly 2000 thunderstorms happening worldwide at any moment of time. Each thunder is capable of producing about 200 lightning strikes.
  • Lightning discharges about 1-10 billion Joules of energy and produces the current of 30,000 Amperes to 50,000 Amperes.
  • The air temperature around the lightning strike increases up to 20,000 degree Celsius.
  • In a year, around 15 to 20 Oil tank fire breakouts are happening worldwide because of lightning attacks.
  • 31% of the fire accidents in petroleum refineries are occurring by lightning.

How Lightning causes fire accident

On account of the fact that lightning cables of the lightning protection system are vulnerable to the risk of fire, they will be burnt when high current flows through it due to lightning. This open flame could lead to explode the nearby inflammable materials. If suppose, lightning attacks the electrical wirings, it will make the wires overheated and evaporate it, sometimes. Wear & tear in the roof of the oil containers due to ageing, possibilities of fume leakage, internal protrusions and irregularities, localized heating and bound charge problems and secondary arc risk are  some other risk factors of the fire accidents in  oil refineries.

Safety measures

  • Automatic fire sprinklers should be installed, which will put down the fire whenever accidents happen.
  • Thickness standards for the roof material of the oil tanks must be maintained.
  • Good lightning protection system should be installed.
  • Floating Roof Tanks – (FRT) grounding methods could be implemented.
  • The Oil tanks could be equipped with Dissipation Array System Technology (DAS), which will prevent accidents due to lightning.

Fire Safety audit in shopping Malls and Multiplexes


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

The advancements in Scientific and technological domains have hit the significant saturation level to ease the human efforts and protection. The recent inventions use biological modeling to create new devices such as Spy Robos, Artificial Intelligence machines and etc. Especially, the Artificial Intelligence machines function similar like human brain, which uses the present input data and previous results to provide solutions to the complex problems loaded into it. As human beings, we would get better results if we analyze the past events in order to prevent the future problems in all matters. When safety is concerned, the causes for the occurrence of fire accident must be clearly scrutinized to avoid it in future.

Fire accident in Kochi Mall

Recently, the fire flames broke out in the fourth floor of a Mall in Kochi, which engulfed the floor entirely without any casualty but with considerable loss in property. The officials reported that the fire blaze was erupted from a kitchen duct in a restaurant while cooking the food. Immediately, the fire alarm was set off to alert the people to evacuate the building safely and quickly. The fire fighters rushed to the mall as soon as they were informed and gutted the fire. As per reports, a heap of wastes accumulated on the premises of the mall somewhat delayed the rescue operations.

Necessity for Safety measures in Major buildings

Apart from this incident, a fire accident happened in a chemical company near Kochi few months ago, which resulted in the loss eight worker’s lives. All these incidents have developed awareness among the people that high-rise buildings must be installed with safety equipments and emergency exits. Fire emergency evacuation plan should be placed on the main locations of the building. As far as this incident is considered, it indicates that   good housekeeping will support the safety of the buildings to some extent. On top of all these, the Safety of the buildings must be administered by qualified Safety Professionals.

Role of Safety Professionals

The invention of new safety equipments are happening in fast track in the safety field. For example, Sound wave fire extinguisher, Water mist systems, Early suppression fast response fire sprinkler systems, Personalized vocal smoke  alarms, Birdi–fire carbon and monoxide detector, Video image smoke detection are the new devices being used by professionals currently. The Safety professionals will effectively implement the Safety measures in the buildings to prevent the accidents. Additionally, they will ensure;

  • Installing Safety equipments
  • Conducting emergency drills regularly
  • Placing emergency evacuation plans and exit signs in required points
  • Monitoring the handling of hazardous materials

Scopes in Safety career – Kochi

As urbanization is happening in rapid pace, high-rise buildings are being built everywhere in the city. People gather at malls and multiplexes with the aim for entertainment & recreation activities. So that necessity for taking safety precautionary measures is being prime concern now than ever before. Additionally, Kochi is the port city, which invites immense job opportunities for Safety professionals. On the whole, there is a huge demand for Safety professionals in the Kochi City. Candidates who complete the Safety courses at present, would get the opportunity of getting placed in major companies in India and abroad with handsome salary package.

NIST – The leading training Institute

NIST is the Top-most leader in safety training in India, which trained more than 50,000+ Safety professionals since 2008; Simply, it is our action which is louder than our words. NIST has spread its wings all over India including Kochi. It is offering International Safety training courses such as NEBOSH HSW, NEBOSH IGC, IOSH WS, IOSH MS, BSC Risk assessment, BSC Fire Safety and Practical training for Fire Watcher & Confined Space Attendant. Candidates who complete Safety training course in NIST will inhere confidence to get succeed in their career.

Fire Accident in Chennai Bakery


As we all know, every action has its own opposite reaction .It is applicable for all the actions what we do along with the amount of energy involved. Fire is the energy form which is inevitable in our very life. Always, we are enjoying the positive patterns of fire energy in all possible forms, to say, right from cooking food in house to launching rockets into space. At the same time, we have to be careful enough to not to redirect this energy in opposite way. It is being clearly proved by the recent incidents that the mishandling of the energy of fire will lead to devastations to the human lives and properties.

What happened

When we look back into history, in the year AD1666, a major fire storm happened in the London known as ‘Great fire of London’ that engulfed two third of the city through severe fire flames due to unquenched fire in the oven of a bakery. Similarly, a fire accident happened in a bakery in kodungaiyur located in Chennai on last Saturday, 15th July, at late-night hours with minimum effect. A fire ball broken out from the bakery  made the attention of everyone in the city as the memories of recent major fire accident happened in a  textile shop in Chennai  weren’t  faded away from everyone’s mind till now.

The officials in the fire rescue department were informed about the incident through a phone call immediately. Two fire tenders with fire men hurried to the spot in quick response. The bakery is located in the ground floor of the building and shutter of the shop was closed during the initial fire break out .When the fire men were trying to open the shutter, a gas cylinder exploded with tall fire flames at that instance. In this incident, a fireman lost his life and three fire men in the rescue team were seriously injured. Moreover, around 40 people present on the spot were attacked with small injuries.

Hats off to fire rescue Team

Fire safety team put their life at risk in order to save the lives of people in and around the spot and doused the blaze immediately. It is our duty to honor the bravery and commitment of a fire man who sacrificed his life in the battle. We have to admire the fire rescue team for their efforts to reduce the casualties.

Negligence in Safety

Now a days fire accidents are not a once in blue moon incident. It is happening frequently in all ranges from small scale to large scale. At many times, negligence is the main factor for fire accidents and for the consequences thereafter. Few weeks ago, an oil tanker exploded in Pakistan that resulted in large number of casualties. Negligence is the only reason for the severity of that incident. As far as this case is concerned, fire team made repeated warnings to the onlookers that it is unsafe to not be close to the spot. But the onlookers hadn’t listened and engaged in taking snapshots. When the fire-ball happened due to unexpected explosion of gas cyclinder, they were affected severely by the blaze. This is the reason for extra number of injured persons in this accident.

Lessons to be learnt

  • All the people must learn how to respond in fire accident situations which happens in their premises or nearby places.
  • The owners of the small firms must take the responsibility of safety of their premises, for example, having good ventilation systems and emergency exits.
  • Electrical wire connections have to be tested regularly to avoid short-circuits.
  • Apart from outside, fire safety awareness must begin from house itself, i.e. electrical connection and gas connection should be carefully maintained.
  • Though it is the duty of authorities to audit the safety conditions in every firm whether it is a small scale or large scale company, it is impossible to ensure the safety of the people in all nuke and corners of the city or nation. People must take the responsibility of their own life and their premises.
  • Health & Safety awareness must be the part of the education system at the school level so that everybody would have the possibility of understanding the importance of safety in every aspect.

MASSIVE LONDON FIRE – GRENFELL TOWER DIASTER


In the 21st century, United Kingdom remains a great power and has an influential role in the world economy. UK is one of the world’s most significant financial hubs with its capital city, London, housing the offices of the 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. UK is very much celebrated for its castles and historic palaces.

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Grenfell Tower, a 24- storey building with 127 flats located in the working-class, multi-ethnic northern Kensington, country’s “wealthiest borough”, had undergone a tragic event. It was a horrible night after a warm day in London, a massive blaze broke out in the building on 14th June around 1 am. The fire ripped through all the floors of building as soon as it was burst out .The blaze engulfed the building within an hour costing the lives of 79 residents.

As far as the history of UK is concerned, it is the worst fire accident after the incident of ‘Great fire of London’ which happened in September 1666 lasted for 5 days consecutively. An unquenched fire in the oven of a bakery had been broken out into a fire storm due to night wind. This fire destroyed the London city in a massive scale. At the end, the fire was put out by two factors; first one  was making ‘fire breaks’, i.e., demolishing structures to halt the spread of fire and the second factor was the change in the wind direction that settled the huge fire.

Rescue efforts of safety team

There were 200 fire fighters with 40 fire engines battled to combat the blaze under control. They rescued around 65 people from the buildings at the earliest course of action putting their lives at risk. A new “Grenfell fire response team” had been setup to help the victims with 24 hour operation. A team of executives from other London boroughs, Government staff, NHS workers and British Red Cross volunteers gathered together in order to support the families of the sufferers and to carry out the relief operations effectively. The London fire brigade had executed the incredible rescue efforts over this incident. In the recent years, the London fire brigade team has been quickly responding to the fire accidents, in effect, reduced the number of fatalities in the city.

Causes & Lapses in fire safety

In fact, before this heartbreaking incident happened, the tenants of Grenfell tower were complaining to the estate management about the lapses in the fire safety measures of the building over the period of time. Unfortunately, no response was initiated by the estate management. Recently, the building had been refurbished with aluminum cladding on the building with double-glazed windows and a communal heating system. This cladding was made up by the Reynobond PE material which is a cheaper and easily flammable material. Others reasons for the incident are presumed to be no alarm facility, faulty electrical wiring, faulty fridge and the lack of sprinklers and exits in the building. London Mayor commented about this incident as a ‘Preventable accident’ and ‘Years of neglect’ by the authorities.

Future course of actions

  • In defense of preventing such kind of fire accidents in future, the appropriate measures must be taken to audit the buildings covered by aluminum claddings and to ensure the availability of fire alarms, fire sprinklers and emergency exits in all the floors.
  • External staircases have to be constructed in the buildings to escape in the emergencies.
  • Good housekeeping methodologies should be implemented in order to prevent the accumulation of hazardous materials in the floors.
  • Fire-fighting equipments and emergency lighting must be installed in the corridors of the buildings.
  • Frequent Fire drills must be conducted to the residents of the buildings in order to respond effectively at the time of emergency.
  • Ceiling and floor voids should be clear of debris and be protected to prevent the spread of fire.
  • The newly constructed and refurbished buildings must be audited by the safety professionals to identify any breachment of regulations.
  • The basic fire safety standards should be implemented in all the buildings by the owners with zero negligence.
  • The need of the hour, throughout the world, is utilizing the expertise of safety professionals to save the valuable lives of innocent people.

Safety illiteracy the primary cause for Industrial accident


Industrial accidents are still a life threatening fear in India. It’s in everyone’s descrying the recent Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) gas pipeline blast which has happened in Lanco’s Kondapalli power plant near Vijaywada on Saturday 28th June 2014.

The result of blast is stated as, the gas which leaked from the pipeline ignited when a tea vendor lit his stove. The blaze scorched the houses, greeneries and everything else for half a kilometer from the plant. An 18 inch pipe was extinguished by mid- morning which claimed 14 lives. The main cause for this accident is the carelessness over the leaking pipe. The pipelines were set in 2001 and capable to work till 2016, but a proper auditing, maintenance of the machineries & equipment is also much necessary especially in oil & gas industries. Regular Auditing plays an important role as the working condition of every process can be checked for its standards and safety level. A qualified auditor for quality and safety should be recruited by every industry. International courses in Auditing are available for HSE where completing those courses skill a professional to know how to control the risk factors involved in a workplace environment and the process. Knowledge on OSHAS, EMS guidelines and regulations are very important for a company to be in compliance.

This bad incident has contribution of influence from the authorities who have approved this industry to be located near the residence to the engineer who maintained the conditions of machineries and equipment inside the company. This kind of industrial accidents has great chance to ruin one’s life who is working inside the industry to the poor lives living near the industries. Fortunately the non-presence of workers during the blast is a much blessed condition. Safety is a very basic need an industry should maintain.

Accessibility to emergency exit, block sprinklers and firefighting equipment should always be available. Proper waste disposal is very important as it can turn in to any hazard. Maintenance and proper auditing of machineries for friction spark, overheating, leakage is mandatory to have a controlled and safe environment. Reporting electrical hazards, Safe usage & storage of chemicals, proper use of smoke area by the employees, building security, precautions in explosive atmospheres, fully charged fire extinguishers; emergency help numbers are the major safety procedures which could help to reduce accident chance and situations.

Normally oil & gas industry will have high risk to catch fire & to explode because of its nature to deal with highly flammable products. Safety knowledge is a mandatory qualification for each and every employee working in any industry. The workforce with much risk involved environment and work, should possess all way to protect themselves and the organization with smart safety actions. Being careless with the safety measures can ruin yours as well as other’s life. Safety precautions and factors is a needed weapon still many countries need to save their nations lively and economically.

Industries should have qualified safety professionals and should train their workforce in safety. There are lots of qualifying courses and studies related to HSE to work in industries. CIEH and NEBOSH fire safety courses, CIEH risk assessment, first aid, IOSH Managing safely; IOSH working safely are some international courses which will increase an organization’s reputation in safety level. Only a constant safety consciousness of an organization and timely safety action of their employees can prevent any deadly drowning industrial accident in the future. Moreover it’s a legal obligation for an organization to provide a safe environment for their employees. Safety education should be given more importance. Safety certifications and training benefits should be known by every working people especially in the industries and this can drastically reduce the level of industrial accidents. Safety professionals can qualify themselves with many available international safety courses which teaches the global standards of safety procedures which are proven to be effectively reducing the accident rates. This at least makes a  family to feel happy about having a secured life rather to just receive the useless ex-gratia relief or compensation amount for the loss of their beloved one’s lives. Be responsible, take safety in hand. Its time not to condole, but to think safety. Prevent accidents & save life!