Published On: January 28, 2023 09:30 AM NPT By: Sabin Chand
The absence of crucial devices like fire hydrants and fire extinguishers, along with proper relevant training, highlight the weakness of the nation in the implementation of fire safety protocols. Prem Prasad Acharya opting the suicidal idea of self-immolation and the unsuccessful attempt to extinguish it shows the inability of a nation to carefully tackle fire hazards. A life would have been saved.
On January 24, 2023, Prem Prasad Acharya committed self-immolation in front of the parliament building in New Baneshwar in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. He was declared dead on the following day while undergoing treatment at the Cleft & Burn Hospital in Kirtipur.
Apart from all the difficulties and mental stress he was going through that made him choose such a fatal decision, the real question is why the fire couldn’t be stopped. Why were basic devices like fire hydrants and fire extinguishers not installed in New Baneshwar, which lies in the heart of Kathmandu city?
Fire hazards and their solutions
A city gets riskier in terms of many aspects as it flourishes to urbanize; one of the risks being fire hazard. This demands a city to be prepared in advance to counter such hazards. To be prepared for fire hazards, there are many strategies that can be put in place. The installation of fire hydrants is one such measure that can be instigated. Fire extinguisher is another device that can be used for a similar purpose. Similarly, giving regular and proper fire hazard training to police personnel, traffic police personnel and army is very important when it comes to setting off a fire with accuracy and great precaution.
Captured videos depict the fiasco of some policemen and local people who were sprinkling water from bottles and jars to douse the fire that had engulfed Prem Prasad. Had there been access to the fire hydrant, the fire would have been stopped easily at that very moment. It clearly highlights the essence of a fire hydrant, as that would have surely restricted the burn rate from reaching 80 percent. More than that, it shows the negligence of the government regarding the implementation of fire safety protocols.
Fire hydrants are very necessary to install in critical areas of the city. This should come with an operator/a firefighter, who should always be ready and alert to fight fire at any time, since every second counts when a fire breaks out. Fire hydrants provide immediate access to a large volume of water. With easy access to water, firefighters can quickly extinguish fires and prevent them from spreading. Moreover, fire hydrants are relatively inexpensive to install and maintain and they are also cost-effective to operate.
Another device that is equally important as fire hydrants in bustling areas of the city is fire extinguishers. The advantage of having a fire extinguisher is that it is portable and can be easily accessed by any person to extinguish the fire.
Fire hazard training
The videos of Prem Prasad Acharya are disturbing to watch, but one can easily point out the inefficiency of policemen and locals in putting out the fire. Actually, they were not prepared for this, and they were clueless. None of them were seen as either alert or prolific until the last moment when the fire started to grow tremendously. This shows the lack of proper training to responsible personnel for fire hazards.
Fire hazard training refers to educational programs or sessions that are designed to teach individuals how to identify, prevent, and respond to fire hazards. These training sessions may cover topics such as fire safety protocols, the proper use of fire extinguishers, evacuation procedures, and the identification of potential fire hazards in a given environment. The goal of fire hazard training is to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively respond to and prevent fires, thereby reducing the risk of fire damage.
The absence of crucial devices like fire hydrants and fire extinguishers, along with proper relevant training, highlight the weakness of the nation in the implementation of fire safety protocols. Prem Prasad Acharya opting the suicidal idea of self-immolation and the unsuccessful attempt to extinguish it shows the inability of a nation to carefully tackle fire hazards. A life would have been saved. The city has got young and new politicians and policy makers from technical sectors, who need to think in depth about the regulation of fire safety hazards, and its implementation as soon as possible. Also, the investigation initiated by the home ministry of Nepal should be able to address this flaw.
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