By Accommodation Times Bureau
Rohit Harjani, Country Manager Indian Sub-continent, Hochiki
Hochiki is one of the worlds’ leading manufacturers of quality fire detectors and alarms for commercial and industrial applications, distinguished by its experience and expertise in this field since 1918. The parent company, Hochiki Corporation, owns the world’s largest, purpose-built, state of the art fire test laboratory situated in Japan. Its advanced testing ensures that the company’s products remain unrivalled and guarantees that all designs are fully reliable in real fire conditions.
In an exclusive interview with Accommodation Times, Rohit Harjani, Country Manager Indian Sub-continent, Hochiki, expressed his views on fire safety:
AT: In India, Fire safety norms, although in compliance, never was so important, often high rise ignore maintenance and at the time it required the most, never function. Do you have any solution to the problem?
RH: In India, Fire safety norms were important, it is only that they were ignored. Maintenance is a bigger problem. The solutions are:
1. RWAs in high rise must think like a family. Individuals are reluctant to invest in fire safety equipment and its maintenance.
2. Fire brigade department should issue NOC for six months only. Just like we have PUC test for automotive, we should have fire department NOC issued every six months provided the fire officer visits the site and checks maintenance registers.
AT: How do we change the mindset and make fire safety as awareness for safety instead of compliance?
RH: I think fire should be included as a subject in schools and regular fire safety workshops must be conducted in schools, universities and other public places.
AT: What is the importance of seamlessly embedding fire safety mechanism in India?
RH: Safety industry is growing at a very good pace in India. With the development of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, the growth is immense. As I see, awareness and law are the two key drivers. Awareness is to instil responsibility and stricter laws to ensure efficient implementation. Today implementation is happening in an adequate manner. Government should invest more on the education and training of the fire
safety departments especially in the tier II and tier III cities. Embedding and structuring of fire safety mechanism will have a lot of advantages such as:
a) Save lives and property
b) Create awareness among masses
c) Helps to organise the industry
d) Makes the industry sizeable to international standards
e) Create a lot of employment in OEMs and will increase number of maintenance companies thereby ensuring employment for maintenance engineers.
AT: What are the evolving landscape of fire safety globally and its impact on India?
RH: In countries like Norway and UK everything is based on fire detection due to which most fires are controlled at nascent stages. There was a massive fire due to the usage of flammable construction material but the government has taken stringent measures to eradicate the sources of fire in raw material used for construction. There has been a lot of R&D going on in the field of Escape Route Lighting System dedicated for evacuation in case of any emergency including Fire emergency. Intelligence has now been added by Hochiki to make this system more effective.
Similarly, as we are moving towards concentration in cities in India, the need for fire alarms is also growing. The rural areas are also getting busier in terms of business and warehousing therefore mandatory laws are being pushed even in those areas. This creates a need for fire detection and
protection equipment and most areas in India now need advanced technologies due to complex structures being built. Fire detection is the base for any firefighting equipment to authenticate fire beside naked Eyes.
AT: What are the Technological advancement in fire technologies for the Indian market?
RH: This is an industry with continuous R&D to improve existing products and develop new products. The fire and safety industry is definitely investing most of their investments in R&D activities. Some of the recent developments are intelligence, wire-free (wireless), embedded features across the entire system and introduction of intelligence in systems other than fire alarm systems eg: intelligent emergency lighting systems.