UL India organized its Sixth Annual Fire Safety Council meet in Mumbai on September 30 and October 1, 2014. The event brought together key decision makers, influencers, technical experts, regulators like DGFASLI (Directorate General, Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes) and professionals from leading corporations and industry associations, along with executives from UL. The council also witnessed participation from the insurance industry, specifically the National Insurance Academy.
The two day event began with an opening address by Mr. Suresh Sugavanam, Managing Director, UL South Asia. Mr. R.A. Venkitachalam, Vice President, Public Safety Mission, UL outlined the safety mission related efforts through his presentation ‘Living the Public Safety Mission’ in India. The first day of the event focused on built environment with discussions revolving around fire fighter safety, fire incidents, new technologies and fire safety challenges associated with them. On the second day, there were two streams of discussions – built environment and industrial fire safety. An analysis of the fire incident data for the year 2013 was presented which highlighted the need for better cause analysis of fires and awareness creation.
The speaker panel constituted of eminent speakers, Mr. Gregory Cade, Divisional Director, Government Affairs, NFPA and Mr. George Healy, Dy. Chief, New York Fire Department, Mr. Sanganna Gejji, Sr. Faculty, National Insurance Academy, Pune and Mr. R K Misra, CEO, Center for Smart Cities.
A major highlight of this year’s Council was the presence of significant number of representatives from the fire fighter community, especially from Mumbai. The ensuing discussions led us to identify ‘fire-fighter training’ as a key area for attention in the immediate future.
The presentations by DGFASLI – the Indian equivalent of OSHA were equally insightful, pointing to the big role that UL can play here even outside of the petrochemical sector where UL is very well present. The aspect of enhanced training in the area of WHS was another key area for UL to act on.
The key action items emerging from the council sessions are:
- Fire fighter safety and research, facilitated by a forum for ‘fire fighting techniques’ training and experience sharing – keeping the Indian ecosystem in mind.
- Collaboration with the National Fire Service College and National Insurance Academy to initiate a fire investigation training program
Creation of awareness and communication across schools, residential societies and commercial establishments as a part of the Safety Smart Program
Given the Modi Government’s endeavour to develop ‘100 Smart Cities’, it was recommended that UL play the role of Safety Champion for ‘Safe and Smart Cities’.