On September 4, Underwriters Laboratories, in association with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), organized 'Fire Safety and Sciences,' a virtual session designed to create awareness and educate university students, industry experts, members of IEEE, and other attendees on fire safety and the impact of fire on society. The session was part of IEEE India Council’s 'Move Outreach India Program' series that highlighted the basic standard principles and protocols to be followed during fire emergencies. Sadhana A, a senior member of IEEE and the present Treasurer and Chair-Elect of "Women In Engineering” within the IEEE Bangalore section, was the moderator for the talk.

During the session, Sachin Kumar Rai, Principal Engineer for Fire and Smoke Modeling at UL Bengaluru, presented on the issue of fire safety by providing examples of the types of fires that occur, different fire mitigation strategies, including the proper usage of fire extinguishers, and the do's and don'ts that one needs to follow while evacuating during a fire.

One of the major causes of fires in India is liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders that are used in kitchens across the country. Highlighting the safe usage of LPG cylinders for cooking in Indian homes, Sachin shed light on the usage of these cylinders, common mistakes to avoid and emergency steps that can be taken in the event of an LPG cylinder fire.

The 60-minute presentation engaged the audience members by offering a blend of fire safety tactics, an explanation of the science of safety and offering examples of practical safety applications through virtual demonstrations.

The presenters focused on outlining these key points:

  • Defining fire and its components
  • Exploring the science behind fires
  • Sharing interesting fire facts and busting common myths
  • Identifying the possible causes of fires in day-to-day life
  • Outlining the preventive measures necessary to avoid or mitigate fire risk
  • Instituting emergency preparedness plans
  • Explaining the proper usage of fire protection systems and the deployment of evacuation techniques

Besides touching on kitchen fires, Sachin also talked about wildfires. He pointed out that nearly 50% of fires, especially those in forests, are caused by the careless disposal of cigarettes, thereby emphasizing the preventable aspects of wildfires.

The session, followed by a Q&A, had over 50 participants from academia, industry, and members of IEEE. The topic was lauded for being timely and relevant and was appreciated for providing various insights on fires and what one needs to do in the case of a fire.