Experts on Friday urged the authorities concerned to create mass awareness of fire safety management and obligate people to maintain building codes properly for the sake of future generations and sustainable development.
They also called upon them to include the fire safety issue amply in the school-level curriculum to make the new generation aware.
The speakers made the call at a seminar titled “Upcoming Challenges of Fire Safety in Bangladesh" at the Eighth International Fire, Safety and Security Expo (IFSSE) 2022 held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in Dhaka.
Organised by the Electronics Safety and Security Association of Bangladesh (ESSAB) and co-partnered by Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence (BFSCD), the three-day expo aims to showcase new firefighting technology and create awareness among the people of the country.
ESSAB President Zahir Uddin Babar gave the welcome speech while its Secretary General M Mahmudur Rashid moderated the seminar and Joint Secretary General Zakir Uddin Ahmed gave a vote of thanks.
According to the BFSCD, a total of 86,390 fire incidents occurred in the last four years and claimed 774 lives across the country.
In his speech, architect, urban designer and environmentalist Iqbal Habib said Bangladesh has national building codes and many rules but people do not abide by those due to a lack of monitoring by the authorities concerned.
"We must lay emphasis on fire safety management for the sake of people’s lives. We should maintain safety first in all development work. We should hold more discussions with stakeholders to create awareness among the mass people as well as modernise the fire safety management here," he said.
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Fire Service and Civil Defence Director (Training, Planning and Development) Lt Col Md Rezaul Karim said now around 22,000 fire incidents occurred each year in Bangladesh, which was 5,000-6,000 three decades ago.
“The risk of fire incidents went up immensely here. We all must use fire equipment more and keep space in front of houses so that fire service vehicles can move freely," he added.
RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) lead engineer on fire safety Md Hasanuzzaman said they are now working on 1,800 factories in Bangladesh to ensure fire safety management properly.
"We want to build a world-class sustainable environment in factories of Bangladesh. The ready-made garment (RMG) factories are now in a good position in the globe considering their environment. So safety should be ensured in other industries soon like the RMG sector," he added.
Southeast University’s Department of Architecture Chairman Masud Ur Rashid said there is no fire safety management in residential buildings in the country and awareness must be created among the people and the new generation.
"The city corporations should build its capacity and appoint more skilled manpower to monitor the system at all levels."
AYZO Director (South East Asia) Sahil Banbah laid emphasis on installing fire safety equipment in buildings located in densely populated areas as early as possible.
ESSAB Vice-President Md Wahid Uddin said there are lots of fake fire safety equipment in the market.
"We should monitor it and take steps regarding harmful chemical factories as well so that tragedies like Nimtoli and Churihatta do not happen again in future," he added.