Initiative to improve fire safety in Bengaluru Apartments

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Pic: Shree D N

The 17 dead in last week’s Karol Bagh fire in New Delhi are still being mourned. Families of victims who perished in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills fire are still grappling with the loss of their loved ones. So is every family that has lost one or more of its members to fires, that were avoidable.

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This February 23rd marks nine years since fire ripped through the Carlton Towers on Old Airport Road in Bengaluru, which claimed nine precious lives.

As part of the ninth anniversary of the Carlton fire incident, Beyond Carlton – India’s first citizen-led fire safety community, born out of the Carlton fire tragedy – in association with Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), Citizen Matters, Jain (Deemed-to-be-University) and When-It-Strikes, has embarked on a campaign to offer Free Fire-Risk Assessment for Bengaluru Apartments.

The campaign aims to:

  • Raise awareness on fire safety amongst residents/Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs)
  • Help RWAs be better prepared and well equipped on fire safety if a fire accident happens

BAF, with its large reach of apartments in the city, is keen to help its members get aware and understand how compliant their apartments are for fire safety. Citizen Matters, as a lead civic issue-led platform, would help create awareness on this initiative on its platform.

How is the Fire-Risk Assessment done?

  • A combination of students from Jain (Deemed University) and When-It Strikes along with the RWAs will do the assessment of fire safety preparedness based on a standard checklist.
  • BAF, RWAs and residents will study the assessment and plan for corrective action.

“At Beyond Carlton, we understand the damage, trauma and anxiety that these mishaps cause. Having been born out of a fire tragedy ourselves, it has been our purpose to ensure other families do not suffer due to ignorance and lack of awareness and non-compliance to fire safety,” says Uday Vijayan, Founder of Beyond Carlton.

Memorial Lecture: Our Cities on Fire

Taking one more step in this direction, Beyond Carlton, every year, invites experts who have worked on urban issues, such as city planning, fire safety, policy or legislation, to share their thoughts and educate people on how citizens can make their cities and towns more liveable and safer, especially in the context of fire accidents.

This year, Dr. A Ravindra, former Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, will deliver the Beyond Carlton Memorial Lecture on ‘Our Cities on Fire’.

Further, as a part of its annual programme, Beyond Carlton also honours Fire Champions who endure great risk during fire accidents in order to save many lives. This year, 20-year-old Siddrameshwar Humanabade, a delivery-boy at Swiggy, who rushed to the site of a hospital fire in Marol, Mumbai and managed to save 10 people on the fateful day of December 18, 2018, will be honoured during the event.

Beyond Carlton also recognises and honours unsung firemen of the Karnataka Fire and Emergency Services every year.

Venue: The Karnataka Fire & Emergency Services Headquarters,
Conference Hall, No.1, Annaswamy Mudaliar Road,
Opp. Ulsoor Lake, Bangalore – 560 042.  

Date: February 23
Time: 6.00pm

About Beyond Carlton

Beyond Carlton’s primary objectives are to create a safer environment by addressing issues around fire safety, including policy and legislative changes, as well as to ensure accountability. Family members of those who passed away and injured in the Carlton Towers fire are the founding members of the Trust. Beyond Carlton participates in internal corporate workshops on fire safety and is working with industry bodies to address issues around fire safety. It was instrumental in filing a PIL in the Karnataka High Court in 2011 and managed to get strict new laws implemented for violations in high rises in Karnataka. Beyond Carlton also launched, the first of its kind citizens city specific Blueprint for Bengaluru city in association with the Karnataka Fire Department. It’s website www.beyondcarlton.org encourages interaction and hopes to serve as a platform and curator of all matters related to fire safety in India. Beyond Carlton is now being recognized as the go-to citizen’s body around fire safety. It is now working on taking this movement national.

About BAF

Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF) was formed to represent and protect the interests of Apartments and Resident Welfare Associations across Bangalore. BAF currently has about 400 Apartment Owners’ Associations, spread across Bangalore as its members and is continuously expanding its membership base. BAF has been fighting against discriminatory rules and charges levied on apartment complexes and has managed to reverse quite a few of those. BAF has also been promoting sustainable initiatives within apartments to help manage crucial resources for the city like water, waste, energy etc.

About Jain (Deemed-to-be University)

JAIN deemed-to-be university is promoted by the JGI Group. It is among the top 5 private universities in Karnataka (KSURF rankings, 2017) and is ranked No. 21 in India (India Today rankings, 2017). JAIN is accredited by NAAC with Grade ‘A’ with score of 3.31 and has been provided Graded Autonomy by MHRD, Government of India.  JAIN is a Multi Faculty University offering PhD, PG, PG Diploma and UG programs in Engineering & Technology, Sciences, Management, Commerce, Arts, Social Sciences and Law. JAIN has emerged as a preferred choice for students from all over India through its emphasis on Academic Excellence, Entrepreneurship Development, Sports, Extension Activities, Value Added Add-on courses, Research & Development in Frontier Areas, Industry Linkages, Collaborations and Unique Specializations. The student strength is 11000 + in 6 faculties. More than 380 foreign students from 38 countries study in JAIN.

About Citizen Matters

Citizen Matters is an independent news media focused on cities and citizens, with insightful reporting on critical issues, ideas and solutions to India’s urban issues. Citizen Matters journalism catalyses better cities by empowering the public with the knowledge and understanding to become active and engaged citizens.

Citizen Matters’ journalism is supported by Oorvani Foundation, a non-profit trust that works on open knowledge platforms for civic engagement and community revitalisation.

About When-It-Strikes

For the past 20 years, it has been the mission of When-It-Strikes Crisis Management Pvt Ltd to achieve exactly that in its endeavour to protect and save lives by imparting unparalleled emergency safety training countrywide. When-It-Strikes is proud to have been pioneers in innovative emergency management and safety training programmes and its highly accomplished trainers have trained thousands of people over the last 20 years, developing efficient Emergency Response Teams (ERT) all over the country. It also believes that prevention is always better than cure and conducts fire safety audits, thermographic analysis etc. to ensure that any crisis is averted in the first place through pre-emptive safety analysis and application of adequate safety measures. The innovative training programmes by When-It-Strikes are customised to suit the needs of different industries viz Engineering, Pharma, Textiles as well as for high rise buildings, software parks, shopping malls, hospitals, hotels and apartments. The course trains people on the knowledge / skill required in the most crucial time of life saving – the first four minutes during any medical emergencies before the arrival of trained doctors / ambulances.