In the year 2012, from January to December, the personnel of the Margao fire and emergency services attended 690 fire calls and 825 non fire emergencies calls.
Mr Prakash M Parab, divisional officer, fire services South Goa, opined that as electrical short circuits, gas leakage, oily rags, lightning, cigarettes, acid, friction and cooking were some of the major causes of fire. He said that besides these negligence forms a major factor in the cause of fire. He said that in some cases fire broke out due to faulty electrical wiring, particularly in older houses. He also observed that major fire incidents reported in factories were primarily due to non availability of fire fighting system or equipment.
He said that to prevent fire one has to maintain machines and equipment with regular checks. He also said that house keeping and general cleanliness is also needed to remove combustible materials from the building, beside defining areas for work and rest and that all units should have the proper fire fighting equipment.
Mr Parab said that the main objective of fire department is to prevent and suppress unwanted fires and to prevent loss of life and property. He said that from January to December 2012, fire destroyed property of around Rs 5.38 crore.
Mr Parab said that the Margao fire station attended 364 fire calls in 2012 and 365 non fire emergencies, and that property worth around Rs 1.59 crore was lost.
Curchorem fire station attended 123 fire calls and 77 emergencies in 2012 and informed that property worth Rs 9.60 crore was lost in fire incidents. Similarly, the Canacona fire station attended 80 fire calls and 167 non fire emergencies. They informed that property worth around Rs 47 lakh was lost in fire incidents. The Verna fire station, which caters to the needs of industrial areas attended 123 calls and 77 non fire calls in 2012 and were unable to save property worth Rs 2.61crore.
Mr Parab said that specifying standards for construction, plumbing, electric installations including wiring, safety, sanitation, lighting, ventilation, heating and air-conditioning is required. Besides, educating the general public on the seriousness of this issue is paramount, he said. He said that buildings-fires are the most common and this is mainly due to closely built houses, which is a result of the increase in population.
According to him accumulation of combustible or inflammable articles or hazardous material add to the danger of fire and pointed that lack of water or fir fighting equipment in such areas allows the fires to spread and cause damage on a large scale. Smoking in bed and accidents in the kitchens are also among the major causes of fire, he said.
He also pointed that many of the older houses have aluminum wiring that increases the chances of fire. He said that matches and lighters in the hands of children can also cause accidental fire which can lead to major disaster. He said that electric equipment and wiring should be maintained properly through supervision and regular, periodic checks.
One fire station officer said that as part of the fire safety awareness programme, teachers are provided training in basic fire safety, evacuation drill and fire fighting techniques. [NT]