Safety and Hazard Preparedness: Are we ready for an emergency?

Safety and Hazard Preparedness: Are we ready for an emergency?

Harsh Mohan Tanya Gupta | Jul 30, 2018

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A couple of months ago a fire broke out in the Advanced Software Engineering Laboratory of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Firefighters put out the flame within a few hours and no casualties were reported, but the blaze raised new concerns about the safety in the NITR campus studded with departmental buildings and residential halls. The absence of any working fire extinguisher in the whole of the CSE department prevented an immediate response to put out the fire. The lack of preventive measures and safety equipment not only jeopardise the safety of the people and the equipment but also disrupt the workflow considerably. Fortunately, this incident did not take an ugly turn and no severe damage was inflicted but the question remains,

“How safe is the institute to protect itself from various unforeseen hazards (fire, construction etc)?”.

MM posed this very question in front of the NITR populace, in form of its weekly poll, to gauge their opinion on the issue. The results of which are summarised below.

About 27% of the voters said

“The institute has sufficient safety measures and equipment to protect in such scenarios and I’m aware of them”

The accident prevention measures that are already in place around the institute, be it the academic area or the residential halls, seem adequate to a significant number of people. Many places around the campus including the SD hall and LA are uniquely equipped with efficient firefighting system in case of emergencies, with hose pipes, alarms and extinguishers. Therefore, these people appear to be satisfied with the information that they are furnished with and do not think that any modification or addition to these measures is imperatively required.

A considerable 25% of the people claimed that

“I have no knowledge of any safety measures”

A quarter of the student body is apparently uninformed about the status of the safety measures and equipment to be found in the college. This lack of knowledge can be just as detrimental as the lack of proper measures. It is essential for people to be abreast of the safety measures to be able to react effectively when faced with an emergency.

To bring people out of ignorance the institute conducted a fire safety and awareness camp in the week following the CS department fire. The camp organized in association with the Rourkela Steel Plant involved firefighting experts educating people both theoretically and practically to mitigate such incidents.

In the poll, a majority of 48% of the populace were found to hold the opinion that

“The institute is not completely safe against hazards and needs to upgrade the safety measures”

The fire incident in the CSE department has been crucial in drawing attention to the need of upgrading the preventive measures. Installation of efficient systems should be accompanied by safety audits to understand the unforeseen hazards which should then be dealt with accordingly. Apart from fire hazards, the chemicals and the apparatus used in different laboratories and the ongoing construction work at various locations in the campus can also constitute a potential threat to the safety of the people. Such issues need to be addressed as soon as possible in order to avoid any major damage-causing occurrences.

Team MM hopes that the institute would learn from its mistakes and would undertake proper preventive measures including the installation of safety equipment in all the academic and residential buildings to prevent and tackle such unforeseen incidents in future.  

Click here to read MM article on CS department fire:

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