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Surat Fire Tragedy: How Conscious Is Bhubaneswar?


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27 May 2019

Snigdha Chandan Das


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Bhubaneswar: After 23 young lives were lost in a devastating fire that broke out in a coaching centre at Surat, the lens is now on such institutes in Odisha. As 22 teams of Fire Department conducted checks across coaching centres in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack today, the real question at the moment arises, “How prepared is Odisha to tackle such an incident?”

The first step is to sensitize the students and make them aware of the basic steps that can save their lives during such moments of crisis. The teams that conducted inspection in coaching centres today also took the time to teach basic techniques for safe evacuation to the youngsters. Ruchika Pradhan and Subrat Swain, students of renowned Aakash Institute, were able recall word-by-word what was taught to them.

They said, “We learnt that with just a handkerchief and water bottle, we can stay protected and come out alive. As smoke will rise above, we have to wet the hanky and crawl outside to safety. We were also taught how to use fire extinguishers in order to put out small blazes. And most importantly, the fire officers asked us to remain confident, calm and composed to tackle the situation as panic can cause more mistakes.”

Ramesh Majhi, Deputy Fire officer, Bhubaneswar Circle said, “We are glad that they (students) have heard us patiently and have imbibed the knowledge. The response was extremely positive. This is a continuous process and we will do this in all schools as well.”

The fire services personnel also conducted thorough inspection of unsafe electric panel, blocked corridors and congested class rooms. Allen Institute in heart of the capital city had several gas cylinders in the building’s basement. When this was pointed out, they assured to take immediate steps.

Anurag Mishra, the Centre head of Allen said, “The cylinders actually belong to the hotels that function in the floors above us. We will inform the owner today itself and get it removed. Moreover, we already have sprinkler system and fire detection alarms in place. In addition to that, we are ready to implement all the steps that the officers instruct us to undertake as our first priority are the students.”

With such positive actions pouring in, Bhubaneswar has definitely moved towards being a more aware and prepared society.

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Ruchika Pradhan, Student

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Subrat Swain, Student

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Anurag Mishra, Centre Head, Allen Institute

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Ramesh Majhi, DFO, Bhubaneswar Circle