ISLAMABAD    -  Fire hazards and firefighting in Pakistan is a topic of utmost importance as we witness that every other day another building catches fire, leading to loss of life and property. Iqbal Institute of Policy Studies organised a webinar recently to discuss the leading causes of fire eruption in buildings and to highlight the possible policy options for preventing such devastations in the future. Through the process of swift research, the institute aims to provide policy recommendations for issues of urgent nature. 

The webinar included expert panelists namely, Mr. Zeeshan Alam, General Manager Fire and Safety at Danish International, Dr. Muhammad Masood Rafi, Professor NED University, Mr. Imran Taj, President FPAP, Mr. Saeed Akhtar Jadoon, Chief Fire Officer KPT, and Mr. Khurram Bargatt, Vice- Member, IIPS Advisory Board. The session was moderated by Lt Gen Muhammad Haroon Aslam, HI (M), SBt, (Retd), President IIPS advisory board. 

Mr. Zeeshan Alam opened the session by discussing how the greatest challenge to fire safety and prevention is the lack of awareness among the masses.  Dr. Muhammad Masood Rafi seconded this view and suggested that universities can play an important role in disseminating knowledge related to fire safety and challenges. Mr. Imran Taj discussed how the builders, architects, and engineers have the responsibility to design buildings with proper fire safety measures in place to protect people from getting trapped inside a burning building.  

Furthermore, Mr. Khurram Bargatt provided an essential viewpoint of town planning with regards to fire hazards and fire safety. He suggested that developing a database that will facilitate enforcement agencies about fire incidents is crucial so that they could help overcome any future incidents. Mr. Saeed Akhtar Jadoon had the most essential insight into the matter suggesting that firefighting should be the last course of action where the top priority is to avoid danger by conducting hazard hunting exercises. 

Lt Gen Muhammad Haroon Aslam, HI (M), SBt, (Retd) moderated the session and added some insightful points to the discussion. He suggested that the FPAP should have comprehensive literature available for the everyday man who wishes to build a house while complying with all the fire safety standards. He suggested that we should incorporate fire safety into the curriculum taught to the children in schools.