Mumbai Fire Brigade in partnership with Project Mumbai, an award-winning not-for-profit today launched AGNI RAKSHAK–MAKING MUMBAI FIORE SAFE– a unique citizen volunteer program to train citizens in fire safety and awareness.
Close to thirty citizens from across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, who took part in the classroom and practical sessions for close to half a day were awarded FIRE SAFETY CITIZEN CHAMPION certificates by the two organizations.
The session is free for citizens and was held at the Byculla Headquarters of the Mumbai Fire Brigade and will take place every Saturday and would admit only pre-registered candidates.
Mumbai’s population and challenges are only increasing. With a staff of only 3000 plus, we still have a turnaround reach time of ten minutes in the day and as little as three minutes in the night. Yet. it is important citizens join us in the fight against fires, especially as the first step”, Chief Fire Officer Hemant Parab said.
The sessions, which have now begun at the Byculla Headquarters, will begin simultaneously at all the six command centers of the Fire Brigade in Mumbai, he added. The sessions are conducted maintaining all health precautions and social distancing and hence, not more than 30 per batch are permitted.
Understanding different kinds of fires, evacuation techniques, machines, and fire extinguishers were among some of the classroom sessions which students were part of. They were later taken outdoors and given practical demos on putting out fires, first by the officers and then by the citizen participants.
There was a special session on coping with fire-related stresses, emotional wellbeing, and how to ensure the wellbeing of others.
The training is free. Those interested to register can write to volunteer@project and will continue every Saturday, for those who wish to register.mumbai.org
Project Mumbai in collaboration with the Mumbai Fire Brigade has launched a volunteer-driven action-oriented program to Make Mumbai Fire Safe. Every Ward. Every Lane.
The program is to train citizens across Mumbai in fire safety.
AGNI RAKSHAK-MAKING MUMBAI FIRE SAFE
The initiative is arguably one of the largest such citizen-driven programs to make a city safer, especially in building awareness towards fire safety and its hazards.
Participants completing the free training program will be honored with a certificate and a title of Fire Ambassadors and will also get a citizen Fire Ambassador Identity Card and a badge.
There are responsibilities that the participants will have to commit to, which are mentioned below too.
WHAT WILL THE TRAINING INCLUDE:
As part of the program, participants will be trained to understand different forms of fire hazards, safety measures, impact and damage that a fire can cause, classroom and practical training in fire safety methods.
This will be a half-day program. It will begin at approximately 9. in the morning and will conclude by 1 pm.
The training will be imparted by trained professionals including representatives of the Mumbai Fire Brigade. The participants will also be trained by experts in administering first aid to fire victims, especially during golden hour. They will also be imparted guidance on how to alert others when they notice a fire.
During the sessions, the participants would also be introduced to champion fire safety ambassadors who through their valor and grit, have saved many lives.
The training program will be conducted across Five Command Centres of MUMBAI Fire Brigade in Mumbai. Mostly, these training sessions will be conducted over weekends, at dates and times which are pre-determined and listed across the Project Mumbai website.
Appropriate health and safety measures would be imparted to ensure participants learn as well as keeping in mind the current COVID concerns.
HOW MANY WILL BE TRAINED AT ONE LOCATION:
Each Centre has a capacity of approximately 75 to 100 people however, keeping COVID concerns in mind, the training center will not take on more than 40 persons in one training batch. They will be seated keeping health and safety measures in mind.
Training may be conducted simultaneously across all centers every weekend.
INCENTIVES FOR PARTICIPANTS:
On successful completion of the first training program, the participant will be presented with a certificate of participation, as well as an honorary title of Citizen Fire Safety Ambassador.
He will also be presented with a Badge of Honor and a special cap.
The title does not carry any monetary benefits for the participant nor will he be entitled to seek any concession of any form from any outlet or institution, education, or travel. This is an honorary title recognizing the participant’s volunteering commitment towards citizen awareness and duty towards fire safety and saving lives.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARTICIPANTS:
As part of being a Fire Safety Ambassador, the titleholder will have to mandatorily have to conduct an orientation and awareness program on fire safety in at least three residential complexes (buildings) within his vicinity.
He should display this through a signed letter from the office-bearer of the society of having successfully completed the orientation program.
On completion of the awareness program across three stipulated buildings, the participant will have to undergo a one-day program on fire safety with the Mumbai Fire Brigade.
Upon which the participant will be given the title of honorary Community Fire Safety Champion.
Role of Fire Safety Ambassadors:
- Be the first local point of contact for the locals or the Fire Brigade in case of any emergency.
- Identify three residential complexes in their vicinity of work or residence where they will conduct a Fire safety talk and lecture which will be an awareness program.
- Alert the Fire Brigade in case of any emergency or things they find inappropriate.
The Ambassador will be a point of contact for Project Mumbai and the Mumbai Fire Brigade if they need any assistance in fire safety in times of calamity. He may be invited from time to time to share his experiences in other training programs with other volunteer participants.
The validity of the Fire Safety Ambassadors badge is valid for a period of one year.
It does not entitle the holder of any special privileges of commerce.
UPGRADE TO BECOME COMMUNITY FIRE CHAMPIONS
Fire Safety Ambassadors on completing three training and orientation sessions across three building complexes other than their own, will be upgraded to COMMUNITY FIRE CHAMPIONS.
They will be entitled to a two-day free fellowship with the fire brigade and invited to talk about their experience.
They will be featured on the PROJECT MUMBAI website.
WHO CAN VOLUNTEER FOR THE TRAINING:
Any citizen above the age of 18 is eligible to participate in this program.
The participant, by signing for the program, automatically affirms his physical fitness and mental fitness to attend this program and sit through the discipline of the four-hour training.
The participant should not have any criminal record/should not have been convicted of any offense punishable under the Indian Penal Code or should not be an active member of any political party.
Initially, this training will primarily be aimed at adult citizens, but soon, we would also be introducing special programs for children and young adults as well.
TEENAGE FIRE AMBASSADORS
Project Mumbai and Mumbai Fire Brigade will soon launch the Teenage Ambassadors program.
As part of this initiative, Adolescents (from std 7 to 10th) can accompany their school for a three-hour LIVE lec-dem study tour of a Fire Station in Mumbai. During the program, trained Brigade Personnel will walk them through fire safety mechanisms and means to make their residential complex and school fire safe.
The program starts in July. School leaders interested in being part of this initiative can write to us from their official e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
Mumbai is a fascinating city. For Project Mumbai, it is also the Kindness Capital of India. People love to give. Selflessly.
There have been numerous instances, each of us may be aware of, that we have seen people of Mumbai stand together in times of crisis, to help others.
AGNI RAKSHAK is an initiative we are putting together where citizens come together in a peace time, to be ready during a crisis.
Especially a crisis of FIRE.
We are all aware that Fires destroy.
What can we do to prevent the disasters?
While rapidly growing urbanization could be seen as one reason for the growing fires, increased traffic congestion has also meant that vehicle speed (especially that of fire tenders) has got compellingly reduced.
These are crucial moments for those in need.
AGNI RAKSHAK, this initiative hopes to resolve these concerns.
With more trained citizen volunteers across Mumbai, the awareness of fire safety is bound to increase.
People’s collective contribution to ensuring fire tenders and emergency vehicles have faster access (and especially better parking sense in congested lanes) will help save many lives.
SOME DATA TO MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND CONCERNS BETTER:
In India, during the year 2015, about 17,700 people lost their lives due to fires and fire-related causes. Of these, women accounted for a disproportionately larger number of fatalities at 62%. This works out to about 30 women and 19 men succumbing to the blaze and inferno every day.
In Maharashtra, 3377 accidental fire deaths were reported during 2015, which accounted for 19.08% of total accidental fire deaths reported in India during the year. Out of these 3377 accidental fire deaths; 1023 (30.29%) were male and 2354 (69.71%) were female.
The economic damage caused due to fires directly, as well as indirectly due to stoppages in production, and other factors is significant, with claims due to fire damage accounting for 7.5% of all net non-life, non-health insurance claims in the year 2017. Numbers aside, the human toll taken by fires cannot be expressed in monetary terms.
Mumbai itself saw an increase in major fires in 2018. Out of 15,468 calls received by the Mumbai Fire Brigade between 2016 and 2018; 2018 saw 112 ‘serious’ fire incidents, a 40% increase over the 79 such calls received in 2017.
One of the common causes of Fires has been observed to be electrical short-circuits, illustrating the need for the involvement of the Electrical Department in Fire Prevention efforts.
The MFPLSM Act 2006 has cast very clear responsibility on the owner or occupier to provide and maintain adequate fire prevention and life safety measures in their buildings. It also clearly spells out that the owner/occupier must carry out an audit of the building’s fire prevention systems twice a year through a licensed agency.
Sub Section (3) of Section 3 of the Act states, “The owner or occupier, as the case may be, shall furnish to the Chief Fire Officer or the nominated officer, a certificate in the prescribed form issued by a Licensed Agency regarding the compliance of the fire prevention and life safety measures in his such building or part thereof, as required by or under the provisions of this Act, and shall also furnish to the Chief Fire Officer or a nominated officer, a certificate in the prescribed form, twice a year in the months of January and July regarding the maintenance of fire prevention and life safety measures in good repair and efficient condition as specified in sub-section (1).”
The meaning and intent of the act are clear- the onus of fire safety is on the owner/occupier of the building.
According to a 2013 study by the Indian Marker Research Bureau and Honeywell Life Safety, conducted to raise awareness of the important role that the public plays in fire safety, there was a clear overall lack of training and awareness among workers and visitors to facilities such as airports, hospitals, malls, and office complexes.
Nearly 50% of surveyed workers had not participated in any fire safety training or fire drills in their facilities, and nearly 40% of surveyed hospital workers were unaware of evacuation procedures in case of fires.
Almost 40 % of visitors to the surveyed facilities were unaware of the location of fire exits, and more than 25% do not follow proper fire evacuation procedures in case of an alarm. One of the most worrying findings of the survey was that 85% of the respondents said their residence did not have any fire alarm systems or detection devices.
The findings of the survey become even more alarming when it is considered that the respondents were all in the topmost two Socio-Economic segments. This is an indicator that public awareness campaigns have not achieved the desired results in terms of fire safety. It calls for a more holistic approach to sensitize the citizenry, including making them aware of their responsibilities under the fire prevention law.