New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, presided over the 15th Formation Day of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in New Delhi today. The theme of this year’s Formation Day is ‘Fire Safety’. At this workshop, stakeholders will discuss the fire risk in the country, its prevention and mitigation, key issues and institutional challenges with regards to fire risk reduction, and the way forward.
Commending NDMA for choosing fire risk reduction as the theme, Shri Reddy said that detailed deliberations on fire safety are very relevant in present time and space, as it is a major element of disaster risk reduction. Fire accidents, if not handled carefully, can lead to a huge loss of life and assets, he said. Shri Reddy mentioned about recent fire incidents like the Surat fire tragedy, which have once again emphasized upon the need and importance of enforcing rules and regulations, so as to save precious lives and property.
Shri Reddy observed that in countries like India where fire accidents are one of the biggest risks to business, it is important to take special measures to strengthen the ecosystem for a proactive approach of fire risks prevention, mitigation and preparedness for response. The National Disaster Management Plan unveiled by the National Authority in 2016 and aligned to the Sendai Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-30, emphasizes upon fire risks and control measures for fire risk mitigation. The Plan delineates in a matrix format, the role of governments/institutions at Central level as well as at state level in managing fire risks. Shri Reddy emphasized on the need of a coordinated approach to fire risk reduction from all stakeholders at central, state and local levels.
Outlining the challenges, Shri Reddy said that enforcement of rules and regulations with regard to fire safety is both a major challenge as well as the prime requirement. He noted that the local authority, in-charge for rule enforcement at state level, must have a clear understanding of the techno-legal regime and profound knowledge of various risk scenarios. Another challenge that he identified was the need for state of art equipments for responding to fire incidents. The Minister said that there is a need for more R&D in this field.
Talking about solutions, Shri Reddy stressed upon learning from past incidents and adopting international best practices for fire risk prevention and mitigation. He emphasized equally on capacity building and skill upgradation of government functionaries as well as awareness generation among people about fire risks and precautionary measures through mock drills. Community participation with the government functionaries is a must to prevent fire incidents and minimizing the resultant socio-economic losses, he added.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, NDMA, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Ministries/Departments of the Central Government, State Governments, State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs), Fire and Forest Departments of various States, civil society, and ex-members and Advisory Committee members of NDMA would be participating in the day-long event.