Safety Systems and Risk Analysis
Disasters are a natural occurrence in people’s everyday lives. However, despite some of these catastrophes being unavoidable, others occur because of human negligence, incompetent management, and hitches in the operations of safety systems. Some strategies should be put in place with the purpose of preventing these tragedies from occurring or reducing the extent of their damage. One such incidence is the devastating fire in Dhaka that occurred in June 2010. The region is one of the urban centers in Bangladesh with most of the buildings constructed during the prehistoric era. According to several reports regarding the tragedy, a hitch in a nearby electrical transformer was responsible for the deadly inferno. The appliance exploded into flames and spread to adjacent buildings. One of these structures contained large quantities of flammable chemicals.
Consequently, the fire quickly spread to commercial and residential houses that were neighboring the electrical transformer. This disaster was one of the most destructive blazes in the nation’s records. It led to the destruction of property worth billions. Moreover, many people suffered from extreme burns and smoke inhalation with a large number of them losing their lives. The fire, which lasted for more than three hours, injured more than 100 people with 117 others dying instantly or while undergoing treatment. Some of the affected individuals were in a marriage celebration at an adjacent field. The government, through the prime minister, declared 5th June 2010 as a day of mourning the death of these victims. Furthermore, she authorized a committee of experts to look into the matter. Some of the citizens wore black attires as a sign of commemorating the sufferers.
Although the main cause of the inferno was an explosion of an electrical transformer, certain managerial ineffectiveness as well as glitches in the safety system aggravated it. This negligence was obvious in the operations of several authorities such as the transformer manufacturer, city administration, quarters’ designers, and the building’s proprietors. For example, the company responsible for the construction of the transformer may have used substandard materials. Most power industries manufacture appliances with cheap and obsolete sensors thus increasing the possibility of exploding. Moreover, some of the affected buildings lacked proper safety systems such as emergency doors and other fire escapes. Some of these houses had their windows fitted with metal grills with others lacking operational fire extinguishers. The ineffectual safety systems in the buildings increased the casualties since most people were inside the burning dwellings.
In addition, the structural design of these quarters and the entire location is responsible for the extensive damage. The paths in the region were too narrow for fire fighting vehicles to access the area. The shops were also in proximity to the apartments, making it easy for the conflagration to stretch to residential quarters. This made it difficult for the fire brigade to put out the inferno in time thus extending the damage. The products in the shops also fanned the inferno. One of the stores near the electrical transformer contained loads of flammable chemicals. This aggravated the inferno consequently increasing the number of fatalities. Various procedures could have helped in averting this tragedy. One such measure is the proper construction of the electrical transformer. In this case, the materials used in assembling the piece of equipment were of poor quality.
This was the main cause of the deadly event. For this reason, incorporation of state-of-the-art components would have been an effective preventive measure. Use of flame defiant coolants in the apparatus could have prevented the combustion. This is because the mineral oil in the transformer is highly flammable in case of any instigation such as a lightning strike. For this reason, there is a need to use quality materials to depress the incineration. Effective sensors could also have stopped the catastrophe from happening. Well-built sensors are able to sever connections in the transformer’s circuit. This happens immediately the piece of equipment senses overheating in the device consequently preventing an explosion. These construction considerations by the pertinent power industry could have prevented the horrible incident. Some preventive measures in the quarters would also have been effective in the situation.
For example, the authorities responsible for controlling the area’s operations should have formulated and implemented policies that govern the structural design of commercial and residential buildings in Dhaka. This includes putting in place mechanical sprinkler structures in all inhabited dwellings to put out flames instantaneously. If the affected buildings had such systems, the combustion could not have occurred and the damages would have been minimal. Appropriate safety schemes inside the populated quarters would also have lowered the number of casualties. This involves construction of escape routes such as unrifled windows and doors. This is because the grills in these dwellings ensnared most of the affected individuals. Suitable ventilations in the business and residential structures would also have prevented deaths caused by smoke inhalation.
Provision of comprehensive information to the public on the subject of preventing and managing such tragedies would have helped in averting the catastrophe. This is because most of the sufferers had little or no skills on how to handle the situation. Some died because of avoidable state of affairs. For example, fire departments should have enlightened the general population on the appropriate procedure of moving out of a building upon noticing the fire. Moreover, they should have enlightened the public on activities that can fan an inferno. They should learn how to extinguish a fire using the available resources like water. This detailed information would have led to a lesser number of casualties. Additionally, the inhabitants would have aided the fire brigade in the extinguishing process instead of watching helplessly.
In order to avoid similar occurrences in the future, several changes require implementing. Most of these alterations revolve around policies in various departments such as the fire department, civil engineering, and transformer industries. For example, relevant sub-sectors of the government should preside over the construction of electrical transformers. This is through ensuring that the involved manufacturers only use high quality equipments. These laws should also limit the purchase of transformer components such as sensors and coolants to renowned companies. This will help in identifying the source of substandard materials used in the construction of these electrical apparatuses. The policies should also stipulate penalties arising from the violation of the set rules. This will reduce the construction of poor quality transformers thus depressing the possibilities of such explosions.
Authorities involved in the city’s architectural planning should also prohibit the erection of electrical transformers near business or residential structures. This will help in preventing severe damages upon the explosion of such appliances. For this modification to be effective, the legislative arm of government should endorse such recommendations. Legalization of this safety feature will prevent the occurrence of similar events in the future. The law should detail various components such as the recommended distance between the transformer and the houses. For example, a minimum of 100 meters should be free of any buildings to avoid the spread of the inferno in case the electrical transformer explodes. In this bare region, the metropolitan administration should plant an assortment of trees.
This is because this vegetation acts as firebreaks. When the electrical appliance blasts out, the trees prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings since they are saturated. They also block blustery weather that may fan the fire. A boundary marker should also surround the device. This is to avoid malicious individuals from accessing the area. In most occasions, vandalism instigates explosions of these electric gadgets. This is because the thieves interfere with the connections in the appliance. Likewise, the burglars steal the mineral oil from these equipments, in addition to other valuables such as sensors. This hinders effective operations of the apparatus thus increasing the possibility of a flare. The lawmakers should also enact strict disciplinary actions as a way of reducing such malevolent and destructive activities.
The civil engineering policies also need modification. This is mainly in terms of the structural design of commercial and private quarters. The policymakers should formulate laws that strictly govern the proceedings of these designers. This will ensure that they collaborate with the house proprietors in installing appropriate safety systems. This includes inbuilt sprinkler arrangements, fire extinguishers, unrifled entrance and exit facilities, and operational alarms. Enactment of these laws will also prevent quacks from engaging in erection activities. This is because unqualified engineers are not in a position to design and install such structures thus making it difficult to combat a blaze in the building. Additionally, the penalties for such imposters should not be lenient in an attempt to ensure professionalism in the construction sector.
Furthermore, the civil engineers involved in designing and constructing major roads and other passageways should exhibit proficiency in their operations. This is through the ratification of a set of laws that oversee their proceedings. For example, the experts in this field should construct wide avenues. This will make it easy for fire-fighting automobile to access buildings in case of a firestorm. Additionally, staircases in the avenues should be minimal to ease the accessibility of the buildings. The civil engineering department should also work in partnership with other branches of the government in modifying roads that are in poor conditions. This will make it easy for the fire department personnel to access the burning buildings without facing any impediments. The government should for that reason, be keen on the quality of work done by the road contractors.
The fire brigade should also use advanced equipments to facilitate the extinguishing process. This includes state-of-the-art water storage tanks and pipes as well as other fire fighting gadgets. Moreover, the branch should offer toll free cellular phone numbers to the public in order to make it easy for people to report any inferno incidences. This will ensure that the brigade arrives at the scene at the right time hence reducing the destruction. The department should also provide advanced protection garments to its labor force in order to guard them against burns and smoke inhalations during the extinguishing procedure. This will not only protect their bodies and lives, but it will also enhance their operations. This is because they will not fear the inferno but rather will focus their efforts on saving the affected people as well as extinguishing the flames instantly.
The general population also needs to change their behavior in such a scenario. For example, in the Dhaka tragedy, many people dashed towards the scene to quench their curiosity. This ignorance was a huge risk since the flames were massive and the smoke was deadly. According to the investigation reports regarding the catastrophe, a significant number of the affected individuals were members of the audience who went close to the burning buildings. Consequently, it is evident that the public’s inquisitiveness and lack of knowledge can lead to severe harm. Although authorities such as the fire personnel and law enforcement recruits are responsible for keeping the masses away from such areas, it is everyone’s task to protect his or her life by avoiding the scene.
In order to emphasize the importance of self-protection, the fire department should hold several informative forums. These will be appropriate platforms to enlighten the public on the best behavior during various tragedies. Moreover, the educationalists should teach the general population on how to assist the fire-fighting branch in extinguishing the blaze. Several measures can determine the effectiveness of the modifications. This includes the setting-up of several committees in various departments involved in safety issues. For example, a commission overseeing the operations of civil contractors may assist in ensuring that the engineers construct quality buildings and roads. In addition, this board should scrutinize the contractors before assigning them various tasks. This will ensure that only experts manage public constructions.
The relevant authorities should also conduct regular and thorough surveys on all commercial and private buildings. During the visits, they should ensure that all buildings are fitted with operational safety systems as dictated by the law. This includes fire extinguishers and emergency exits. To enhance the effectiveness of this modification, the examinations should be abrupt in an attempt to capture any lawbreakers. Faulty or missing components in the structures should attract appropriate disciplinary actions. These procedures will increase the occupants’ preparedness in case of a tragedy. Likewise, the infrastructure section ought to refurbish all vital transportation channels on a regular basis. This will enhance the effectiveness of the area’s wellbeing in the event of a misfortune.
The public educative forums must also be frequent for the safety measures to be effective. The security divisions need to ensure that the entire populace understands the importance of implementing the enacted safety measures. These constant campaigns will enhance the efficiency of the set safety measures. It will be easy for the fire brigade to access the catastrophe site without endangering the general population. Adequate funding will also enhance the effectiveness of the fire-fighting team. This is because they will have appropriate equipments to put out the fire. They will also be in a position to recruit the required number of competent workers hence improving their performance. Furthermore, the salaries paid to the devoted labor force will act as a motivation tool hence boosting their competence.
In conclusion, ineffective management may cause severe tragedies. Hitches in the safety systems may fan an inferno. Therefore, it is essential for the relevant supervisors to focus on the safety of the populace while designing and building a commercial or residential quarters. Implementation of certain preventive procedures would have averted this tragic fire. To avoid the re-occurrence of such a disaster, the legislative arm of government in partnership with relevant departments should formulate and implement policies that enhance safety in all private and public buildings. Harsh penalties should also be in place as a way of discouraging faulty safety systems in the quarters. This will act as a measure to ensure effectiveness of the preventive measures. It is also beneficial to educate the public on the best behavior during such tragedies to reduce the number of casualties.