1. Fire Safety in critical
infrastructure - A way forward
Alok Bohra IRPFS
General Manager MRVC
(General Administration & Safety)
2. About the Speaker…
• Alok Bohra MA LL.B and PGDJ &M is an IRPFS officer of
Civil Services 1997 batch.
• He did basic police training at SVPNPA Hyderabad and
has worked over major divisions like CSMT and
Howrah of Indian Railways.
• He was decorated with Indian Police Medal in 2018
and has been honoured with many awards in his 23
year old outstanding service to the nation.
• He has published papers in the NSG journal Bomb
• He prepared an SoP for RPF staff, played a crucial role
in running of Shramik special trains and conceived and
designed a Robot called Captain Arjun in 2020 for
assisting these frontline warriors in the Covid 19.
3. Emerging Fire & Safety Requirements
1. Accessible Equipment:
Make sure all of your fire protection equipment ( fire extinguishers, control panels, etc.) are
easily accessible. Also don’t block the fire sprinklers or fire alarms with anything, such as
dust, debris or paint. You don’t want to hinder the functionality of your equipment.
2. Proper Disposal:
Discard of any hazardous waste in a metal container that has a lid. Hazardous waste can
include anything from oils to chemicals. Even flammable and combustible materials should
be properly disposed of in order to prevent fire hazards.
3. Regular Maintenance:
Schedule regular maintenance services for all of your fire protection equipment to make sure
everything is up to code. It’s also smart to make sure any machines in your building are
properly maintained in order to prevent overheating or sparks created from friction.
4. Safe Storage:
If you have chemicals, flammable materials or other hazardous substances in your building,
you will want to make sure they are stored in a safe place. Make sure they are in a dry, secure
closet or room that has adequate ventilation. It’s also a good idea to keep fire protection
equipment for flammable substances near the storage area just in case.
5. Clean Environment:
There are many reasons that you should keep your building neat and tidy. One of the main
reasons is because when there’s a lot of clutter, especially flammable materials such as paper,
boxes, etc., then a fire can spread faster. The clutter could also block exits and make it harder
to escape if there is a fire. So make sure to keep the inside of your building clean and clutter
4. 6. Precautionary Measures:
Fire safety demonstrations can go a long way when it comes to the safety of your building. Make
sure to teach building occupants how to react to a fire and how to use a fire extinguisher, along
with the other fire protection devices. This can help to prevent a fire from spreading if one does
occur in your building.
7. Building Security:
Arson is one of the leading causes of building and structure fires. That’s why it’s so important to
invest in building security. Building occupants should know to lock up the building behind them
and they should know how to report suspicious behavior or people if they see something a little
8. Designated Smoking Area:
There should be a designated smoking area that’s a safe distance away from the building. Also
make sure to provide ashtrays or other safe options for people to properly extinguish and dispose
of their cigarettes. This will help keep your building safe from accidental fires caused by lit
9. Emergency Plan:
Emergency and evacuation plans are important to prevent further damages or issues if there’s a
fire. It’s important that if someone needs to call for help, they know what to do, how to easily find
the building address, and what the next steps should be. Fire prevention is just as important after a
fire has already started because it can reduce the risk of it spreading, which can lead to more
10. Adhere to OSHA & NFPA Guidelines:
Today there are safety standards and regulations put in place to help businesses better prevent
fires in the workplace. Both OSHA and NFPA provide a set of rules and guidelines to ensure fire
protection and safety. You’ll want to make sure that you meet all of their requirements to remain
up to code and secure.
5. BEST PRACTICES FOR FIRE SAFETY
There are n number of ways to minimise the risk of fire in your workplace. Here are some of
the practices worth noting down:
1. Install "no smoking" signs and strictly implement it. If the office has smoking areas, disposing
of cigarettes properly should be imposed to the employees.
2. Declutter. The best places for a fire to take control over are those with piles of waste and
clutter. With good housekeeping at your own workplace, there should be minimal risk of fire.
3. Store flammable liquids in metal containers. Oily or solvent-soaked rags should be used with
caution and disposed of properly.
4. Familiarize the firefighting equipment in your business and the location for each. Fire
extinguishers in your workplace have designated installation positions near exit doors and
fire-prone areas. Employees should be able to spot them easily.
6. 5. Store chemicals in a safe compartment. Read the information sheet about hazard warnings to
ensure safe storage and usage.
6. Electrical wirings and fixtures should be kept in order. Avoid using too many electronics in
one socket and minimise the use of adapters to eliminate the hazard of faulty electrical
7. Prepare a list of all emergency contact numbers and make it accessible to everyone in the
8. Conduct fire safety drills for all employees. Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is crucial
in the workforce. Make sure workers are able to identify the different types of fire
extinguishers and are able to function properly through the training provided.
7. Measures to minimise fire
1. Install fire detection systems.
This is a legal requirement of all businesses. Some alarms may trigger automatically, but if
they are manual be sure to teach employees how to operate them.
2. Prepare an emergency plan.
This should detail what employees must do if they discover a fire, the types of warning
systems in place, and evacuation procedures.
3. Create fire escape routes.
They must take people to a safe place, have clear signs, and be well lit. Plan your fire escape
routes in accordance with the local fire authority to ensure they are effective.
4. Designate a fire warden.
Your workplace should have one or more people in charge of monitoring fire safety and
assisting with evacuations in the event of a fire. These people are known as fire wardens.
They should receive training in fire safety awareness and what their role entails, as well as
practical training in how to use fire-fighting equipment.
5. Know your fire extinguishers.
Make sure everyone in charge of fire safety understand the different types of fire
extinguishers available. You should have ones most suitable for the fire your business is at
risk of, e.g. carbon dioxide extinguishers in offices. Store them in appropriate places and
ensure there is a sufficient amount (1 for every 200 square metres).
6. Install emergency lighting.
All emergency routes and exits must be well lit. Include lighting at each door, corridor,
change of direction and floor level, staircase, and next to fire-fighting equipment and alarms.
Be sure to test emergency lighting regularly.
7. Check fire safety signs.
Are they clear and suitable for those with poor vision or whose first language is not English?
All fire safety signs should contain pictures so anyone can understand them at a glance.
Ensure they are well lit so they can be seen in an emergency, even if the power goes out.
8. Train your employees in fire safety.
The training you provide to your employees should explain how raise the alarm, who the fire
wardens are, where the escape routes are, what your evacuation procedures are, and where the
assembly point is located. Without this knowledge, fire emergencies have the potential to
become even more serious.
9. Hold regular fire drills.
Practice your fire evacuation procedures at least annually to ensure all employees know what
to do and where to go. Carry out a fire drill sooner if any major changes are made to
10. Promote good housekeeping.
Don’t keep flammable materials, e.g. cardboard boxes, for longer than necessary. Remove and
recycle them on a regular basis. Avoid overloading plug sockets, and be sure to store electrical
equipment safely to minimise deterioration.
9. Recent advancement in new
equipments and technology
1) Advanced Biotelemetry:
In addition to heart rate, biotelemetry will provide knowledge of a firefighter’s individual and
specific activity levels that will help notify managers how hard interior crews are working.
Coupled with current connected monitoring of personnel and integrated with air management,
advanced biotelemetry will keep responders safer in an immediately dangerous to life or
health (IDLH) environment.
2) Artificial Intelligence or AI:
Future AI will provide real-time traffic analytics for time “closest” dispatches, object
recognition through computer vision, and will warn interior crews of pending flash-over and
backdraft environments created on physics-based computational computing.
3) Virtual, Mixed, and Augmented Reality (VR/MxR/AR):
The focus is to provide citizen education, responder training and emergency response
enhancement through these emerging platforms. Children will soon learn stop, drop and roll
in virtual reality through haptic touch and digital scent. Responders will mitigate imagined
and genuine emergencies with technology developed for the gaming industry, leveraged for
real-time visual awareness in visually immersive environs. As an example, the New Zealand
Fire Service, in an effort to help residents plan to escape their home safely in a fire, utilized
360-degree video and VR technology to create a unique and engaging experience.
4) Autonomous Vehicles:
On the ground and in the air programmable vehicles will transport first responders and
equipment before, during and post-incident and reduce human-error caused collisions. These
wheeled and winged vehicles will also play an important role in collecting and delivering data
to responders via GPS, remote sensing and 3D 360- degree imagery capabilities.
10. ) 5). Computer Vision, Edge Detection and Object Recognition:
Several systems have been developed by public (NASA) and private groups that allow
firefighters in-facepiece vision, providing digitized and contrasted edge detection, in addition
to thermal imaging. These new systems allow onboard object recognition that will transmit
warnings to unaware firefighters and advise of imminent collapse of floors and roof
6) Facial Recognition Software:
This type of software is already assisting law enforcement in protecting those they serve. In
the future, fire and medical personal will use this form of computer vision to allow a
responder to know an unconscious patient’s identity, next of kin, treatment permission and
7) 360 Video:
These cameras are being used below water, from the ground and in the sky and can educate
citizens and responders in many aspects of fire and life safety. Via social media they already
provide visual displays in real-time that allow responders to intellectually understand active
shooter, flood, fire, and collapse scenes prior to arrival.
8) Big Data and the Internet of Things (BD/IoT):
Responders will have advanced situational awareness systems that utilize various sets of data
and, along with multi-sensor fusion and the IoT, that will have lifesaving advantages, both for
emergency personal and potential victims as well. BD/IOT will remain a focus area where
network security is a known and essential subject in these developing platforms.
9) SMART Cities:
These types of initiatives around the globe bring it all together by providing 3D/360 digital
assets for fire prevention, response mitigation and investigations. The use of digital design has
been a staple for decades and fire prevention bureaus, enabled by the advent of FirstNet and
5G cellular technology, will be part of a previously unimaginable set of target safety maps
that will interface with responder’s phones, tablets, facepieces and augmented reality; akin to
“Ironman” stylized safety systems.