• Sunday, Mar 29, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:51 am

Once again, we were ill-prepared

  • Published at 01:00 am March 29th, 2019

We pray that casualties and damage from the fire are kept to a minimum

As we continued to watch the fire which had broken out at Banani’s FR Tower, with people still trapped inside, we were reminded once again of the need for proper safety precautions in the thousands of structures sprawled across Dhaka’s urban landscape, especially in the wake of the recent fire at Chawkbazar which took the lives of more than 80 people.

At least 17 firefighting units and naval units were working to fight the blaze -- however, what is worrying is that, eyewitness reports claim that the firefighters were late to the scene, allowing the fire to get out of control.

The inadequacy of our emergency preparedness is nothing short of alarming.

On the one hand, it is evident that Dhaka city needs a makeover so that our buildings and structure meet the criteria for ensuring proper fire safety, be it in the narrow roads of Old Dhaka or the wider streets of Dhaka North.

On the other, it is also evident that our firefighting capabilities are vastly lacking in both efficiency and effectiveness.

This state of affairs has long persisted due to a lack of planning in our infrastructure, coupled with massive urbanization, leading to narrow, clogged streets and unsafe structures, which is worsened by our firefighting units either being incapable of reaching fires on time or not having the training and equipment necessary to properly fight these fires.

We pray that casualties and damage from the fire are kept to a minimum, and that the authorities take this as a wakeup call to revamp our fire rescue services and building safety codes.