By Fawad Ateeq Barry, CEO, Haseen Habib Trading (Pvt) Ltd
The Tezgam express incident has jolted the nation, in which 75 innocent lives were lost. Who is responsible for this loss? Is the price of life in our country that less, or is it nothing at all? Our railway minister says that the tragedy took place because of a gas cylinder explosion, when on the other hand; passengers report it to be a short circuit fire. The investigations, however, are going on and we are going to find out the cause. It is our normal protocol as a nation that we wake up for a short period of time after an incident takes place and then resume back to our ignorance. At this point, we should take responsibility and rapid action, in recognition to the numerous innocent lives lost by installing fire safety devices in our railway system.
In each of the bogies, there should be an extinguisher, which should be used in case of a fire breaking out. Fire alarm systems should be placed in trains so that if there’s a fire, the drivers along with the passengers become aware of the fire. Furthermore the wires used inside trains should be made fireproof and security scanners and cameras should be installed on railway platforms. Bans should be put on highly flammable items such as gas cylinders, alternatives for heating such as microwaves and electronic heaters should be installed. Anyone willing to go against this should be punishable by law. The lives of our people should be our number one priority, always.
In developed nations such as Europe and the UK, trains are an everyday means of transport and the fire safety and prevention measures on them are fool-proof. All trains have air conditioners and are temperature controlled. The bullet trains there are built with the latest fire safety system, the EN4554, in which all material from chairs to curtains, everything on the train is fireproof. In each of the compartments, there is the CO2 automatic extinguishing system, in which fires are dealt with automatically without any human efforts and are contained within 100 feet. We are far behind in this regard, however now is definitely a good time, to move towards betterment so we do not have to face such horrific tragedies in the future.