Brigadier General Md Main Uddin, director general of Fire Service and Civil Defense, has said there are more than 21,000 fire incidents annually in the country and about 40% of those caused by electrical short-circuits.
"We receive 20,000 fire calls from different parts of the country every year. In Dhaka alone, an average of 180 people die every year due to fire incidents," he was addressing a roundtable on the sideline of the International Fire, Safety and Security Expo-2022 in the capital on Saturday.
Presenting a keynote paper on "Fire Safety Issues in Bangladesh: Challenges & Ways Forward", the Fire Service DG said there were 21,601 fire incidents in 2021. As of September this year, 20,632 fire incidents were reported across the country. Those fire incidents also caused extensive property damage.
According to his presentation, 37% of fire incidents caused by electrical short-circuits, 18% kitchen, 15% cigarette, 15% miscellaneous, and others in 2021.
Main Uddin further said, "No one wants to spend money on installing a fire safety system. Everyone should come forward in this regard. Training centre should be established in this regard. As we also have some weaknesses, firefighters require higher training."
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Md Atiqul islam said "There is no alternative to extensive pre-preparedness to save lives and losses in fire incidents. If we don't prepare, we will have to see many people burnt to death. Installation of a fire extinguishing system is not enough. We have to check its effectiveness on a regular basis."
Mayor Atiqul, also former president of BGMEA, said "After the Rana Plaza disaster, we brought our garment factories under a system. Fire safety and building safety have been ensured in garment factories."
The city corporation will provide fire safety training to city dwellers to make them aware, he added.
Architect Iqbal Hahib said, "It is not acceptable that neighbours kill us by making their houses warehouses of combustible goods to make extra profit; fire incidents will occur for our unawareness. For raising awareness among people, there will be an arrangement for regular training."
Electronics Safety and Security Association of Bangladesh (Essab) Joint Secretary Zakir Uddin Ahmed said, "We want to save our country and its apparel sector from the tragic fire incidents. We want to disseminate knowledge among schools to educate the students about the danger of fire."
The three-day-long expo, organised by the Electronics Safety and Security Association of Bangladesh (Essab) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, came to an end on Saturday.