Metro: Safe from fire but not from BMC fogging

Mumbai :  The fire alarm went off, the sprinklers were activated, escalators and elevators stopped, emergency exits opened up. Everyone at Ghatkopar Metro station was in a tizzy for five minutes on Tuesday morning till they realized that it was a false alarm.

The fire alarms, extremely sensitive to smoke, were triggered by one of BMC’s hand-held fogging machines intended to kill mosquitoes. A civic worker, who was fogging a spot under the elevated Metro station, was unaware of the chaos he had caused. The incident happened at 9.38 am. Officials said that the fire alarm was deactivated soon and no services were cancelled.

A Mumbai Metro One spokesperson said, “There was no fire at Ghatkopar station. At 9:38 am the fire alarm got activated due to fogging done by BMC at ground level.’’

 The spokesperson said the event only showed the fire preparedness on part of the Metro. “At Lotus Business Park, the fire went unnoticed till it became a blaze. Here, the alarm went off the instant smoke was detected.’’

Obviously, the Metro authorities will have to diminish the sensitivity of their alarms, as smoke from burning leaves or a minor bonfire or Diwali crackers can set off a false alarm and leave thousands of commuters stranded in mid air.

SAFETY FIRST

  • The metro has automatic fire detection: it has in place a fire alarm, sprinklers and extinguishers
  • Smoke, heat detectors instantly activate hooters and escalators and elevators also stop
  • Emergency exits open up to facilitate evacuation
  • But fire alarms are extremely sensitive to smoke: even fogging can trigger these.

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