Flirting with fire

Electricity is considered to be a good servant but a bad master, the currently most indispensable source of energy literally powering the wheels of commerce, industry and life of people at large to an extent that one can never fathom. Ignorance about the care and caution in using it and consequent neglect of proper maintenance of the countless devices working by drawing electric power, resulting in mishaps causing loss of life and limbs doesn’t require elaboration. The most common inference on the cause of such mishaps, namely short circuit gives the false sense of assurance that nothing really went wrong. People as well as those who matter in the administration take the media reports on the mishaps caused due to short circuit as nothing to be brothered about. Fire (agni), which doesn’t require  more effort than just striking a match stick on the side of the container box or flicking the button at the pocket lighter can very well take the place of electricity in the above narration. Cause of fire is also most often traced to a cigarette stub carelessly tossed on the ground or a spark generated in a busy workshop cluttered with machinery run with electricity. The latest to join the agents of fire mishaps is the ubiquitous cooking gas (LPG).

Modern means of accessing devices associated with electricity, fire as a source of heat and cooking gas owe it to science in no small measure, which can very well take  its place along the other three aforementioned conveniences as a good servant but a bad master. But, Science also acts as an antidote to all the hazard it has been causing solely due to its thoughtless use. The examples of nuclear weaponry and AK 47 assault rifle serve eminently as cases.

Of the various locations where fire mishaps take place, be it due to short circuit, mishandling cooking gas or any other cause, most of the locations are fairly well-placed in addressing the task of minimising the losses of life and property compared to dwellings in overcrowded parts of cities as well as those in narrow streets. Recent episodes of fire mishaps in hotels at Bengaluru mirror the negligent outlook of urbanites towards the importance of anticipating outbreak of fire and steps to be taken to prevent mishaps. But for the valiant personnel of the fire brigade, who brave the raging fires, the extent of damage due to fire mishaps can be many times more.

A report in one of the dailies last week has revealed that older areas of Bengaluru are still vulnerable to fire accidents. Given the current status of society witnessing turmoil triggered by a plethora of causes, fires attributed to miscreants require greater vigil on the part of citizens. Innocent residents of urban spaces are made suckers by those flirting with fire.

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