Guest Discussion: Mr Arvind Kamat

01 Jun 2018

Welcome Mr Arvind. Great to have you here for our guest discussion. Here is the brief introduction of  Mr Arvind Kamat.

Mr Arvind Ananth Kamath is an entrepreneur and has ventured into the field of Fire Protection Equipment & Systems. He is a Bachelor of Production Engineering from VJTI, Mumbai University. Having a vast experience (25 Years) in his chosen field, he is now providing services of SITC of Fire Protetction Systems, Consultancy for Design & Engineering of various systems and also has a penchant for Training & Seminars on these systems.

Can you elaborate about your business?

We Supply Install Test & Commission (SITC) Fire Protection Systems. We provide complete engineering solutions to suit the requirements of customer by designing the system as per their needs. we undertake AMC's of existing systems and carry out retro-fitting to revamp old systems with updated technologies. We also provide hands on training to all customers and also deliver structured seminars to receptive audiences, be it educational institutions or professional organizations.

How long you are in this Business?

As every day is a new challenge, it always seems we have just entered the arena. So far we are in working in the field for more than 18 years.

What prompted you to do your own business?

With scant knowledge of business it took me 6 years of Production Experience of Fire protection Equipment and then equal number of years in Project Work to reckon myself as a contender to do this business satisfactorily. What prompted me is the passion with which my Guru (Late Mr. MP Rane also an ex-VJTIte) taught me the basics of this business.

Can you give some more details  about fire protection systems?

Fire protection is basically about first preventing FIRES and if they happen, then to Extinguish them. The most popular extinguishant being WATER. Others are FOAM, DCP (Dry Chemical Powder)), Clean Agent (Inert gases or a mixture of these). Extinguishers may be termed as First Aid Fire Extinguishing Equipment. For larger fires, we install the Fire Hydrant System, consisting of a Pumping Station, Piping Network, Fire hydrant equipment such as Hydrant valves, Hose Boxes with Fire Fighting Hosepipes and Branchpipes, First Aid Hose Reel and Water Monitors. Foam systems are used when protection to liquid fuels is required (petrol / Diesel / Naptha / HSD / LDO etc.). Clean Agent systems are mostly used to protect confined spaces such as Server Rooms / Battery Rooms / Panel Cubicles etc. A fire Alarm System is installed with a Panel connected by FRLS cables to manual Call Points and Smoke / heat detectors.

What are the Governing Bodies / Authority Having Jurisdiction on fire safety?

Here in India we have Local Fire Brigade Authority / Tariff Advisory Committee Rules. Internationally we have NFPA / FM / UL / LPC.

What are basic things that all of us should know about fire safety? Can  it be part of school curriculum?

We all know and agree that FIRE has its own uses when it is used in a controlled environment. When a gas stove burns we get to make food. When a bulb burns we get light which fights darkness. The uses are innumerable. However we also need to know that when FIRE assumes uncontrollable proportions it is devastating, Hence we need to know basics of FIRE. This is best explained as a FIRE TRIANGLE, the three sides being FUEL, OXYGEN and IGNITION SOURCE. Extinguishment of FIRE is based on removal of one of the sides of this triangle. There is a full fledged Engineering Course conducted by the National Fire Service College at Nagpur. As such making basic knowledge about FIRE, it's types and extinguishants used against each type can surely be made a part of the school curriculum.

Where can people get more information about fire safety & hazards?

The National Building Codes (NBC), TAC Guidelines (Tariff Advisory Committee, though a defunct organization, guidelines are still followed), LPC Presentations (Loss Prevention Council) and Local Fire Brigade Presentations and Seminars are good sources of obtaining more information on Fire & Safety Hazards.

What is the Dos & Don'ts of first Aid in case of fire injuries?

Stay calm, extinguish any flames with blanket or rolling in sand / earth, Call for medical aid. Until then use cold water on the affected portions. Major deaths in afire is on account of smoke inhalation. Take person to decongested area and allow maximum inhalation of pure air / oxygen from atmosphere.

Fire Safety is often ignored subject in India.  Recent incident in Mumbai took 20 lives due to this. What do you think about it?

Unfortunately yes! But now the scene is changing with Fire Brigade becoming more and more strict with regulations. Fire NOC is given after all compliances of the rules given by Fire Brigade. There are guidelines as to Staircase / Electric Ducts / Refugee Areas / Fire Ducts / Intumescent Sealing for each floor to prevent smoke travel from one floor to other / Back Up Power for Lifts and operating Fire Pumps / Strategic Signages to guide during emergencies.
Regarding the recent Fire which claimed 20 lives, the main reason was obstruction in the escape route which trapped the unfortunate revellers. My take on this is everyone needs to follow the rules listed by Fire Brigades religiously.

Businesses / Establishments/ Housing societies need to comply with Fire Safety laws. What are those or where can this compliance information is available?

At the outset of construction of any Establishment / Building the Architect applies to the Fire Brigade for a Preliminary NOC to enable commencement of construction work. This Preliminary NOC gives complete comprehensive guideline w.r.t. the Fire & Safety requirements. Any person / establishment can approach the local Fire Authority for such information.

Who is responsible for any fire accidents in the establishments? For ex - If there is a fire accident in a co Op Hsg society, would the  managing committee responsible for that?

Each one of us is responsible. If rules are flouted in a society naturally the Chairman and Secretary are primary respondents. In case of a corporate / company the Director is the respondent. It is therefore made mandatory by the topmost person in the hierarchy that everyone should comply to rules set forth by the society or company pertaining to Fire & Safety.

If people have to reach you about fire safety, education or  engaging your firm, what is the best way to reach you or your office?

Teaching has been a passion since childhood. Even as a child I remember teaching alphabets to my siblings! Best way to reach me is drop me a message on Whatsapp!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ofcourse calling up or e-mailing is also an option available.

How costly is to establish & maintain a  fire protection system in housing societies or in the home?

Rather than the cost it is the safety that's important. As athub rule it is 2 to 5% of the cost of construction of the establishment.

If there is a fire in the home, what are basic precautions one should take? Are there any fire protection tools available for household use?

Prevention is better than cure. Hence preventive measures are like, turning off electric mains while leaving home for long durations, turning off Gas Knob of cylinder in kitchen, or closing the stop cock if you have piped gas. Be careful with Match Boxes / Cigarettes / Incense Sticks.
Fire Extinguishers are the best equipment for homes. A DCP (Dry Chemical Powder) 6Kg for general fires and CO2 4.5 Kg extinguisher for an electrical fire.

Thank you for being with us and providing this valuable information about fire safety. Thank you again & all the best.

It's my pleasure. :)