‘Unity in Diversity’, thy name is India. I thought of this when I glanced through the April calendar and saw that except western India, almost all major parts will be celebrating New Year on the same day, albeit in different names. It is Baisakhi in Punjab; Vishu in Kerala; Poila Baishakh in Bengal; Rongali Bihu in Assam; Puthuvarusham in Tamilnadu and Pana Sankranti in Odisha. It is Dr B R Ambedkar Jayanti and Good Friday on the same day, 14th April 2017!

However, 14th April also has one more important celebration, which is connected with all class and creed in all parts of the country! That is the celebration of National Fire Service Day, being observed to pay homage to those brave fire fighters, who have sacrificed their lives, while fighting a major fire at Mumbai Port on 14th April 1944.

Fire is rated as the fifth largest risk in India and the statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau indicates that a total of 1,13, 961 people lost their lives due to fire mishaps between 2010 and 2014. This works out to on an average 62 deaths, a year! As regards the economic losses, the ‘guesstimate’ is Rs 1,000 crore per year! All this put together, works out to a colossal damage to the society as a whole!!

It is here, the National Building Code 2016, published by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) last month, will play a vital role in minimising fire mishaps, casualties concerning deaths and economic losses. I had the good fortune to meet the doyen of Indian firefighting industry, Mr. S K Dheri, last month, at his picturesque office at Gateway Towers. Mr. Dheri, who was CFO of Delhi Fire Service between 1984 and 2001, is Executive Director of DLF Services Limited and oversees safety and security of all DLF properties, on a pan-India scale. He served as Convener of the Panel for Fire Protection for NBC 2016, constituted by BIS. While discussing the new Codes, this was his first cut response - “The release of NBC 2016 and in particular Part - 4 of the Code, leads the Country to New Era of Awareness, Approach and Aspect to meet the prime objective of Life Safety and Fire Prevention for the Built Environment.”

While on the topic, he strongly suggested propogating the Codes amongst all the stakeholders of building industry, be it builders, architects, contractors, developers, consultants or even large utility owners through INSITE and create an awareness about preventive actions required as per the Codes. Not only that, he also suggested to have articles on electrical safety, security, surveillance, and Integrated Building Management Systems (IBMS) for safety and security of the public at large.

I am happy to share that with his advice in mind and based on my discussion with IIID’s National President Mr Pratap Jadhav, we have decided to launch two new columns, SAFETY INSIGHT for fire safety and SECURITY INSIGHT for surveillance & security. I am sure, these additions will add a lot of value to our continued endeavour to serve the readership of INSITE.

Publisher - INSITE