Monday, January 3, 2011

Fire Safety Aspects for Buddhist Temples, Monasteries and Centres

The following questions should be regarded as a general checklist and by no means is it exhaustive in nature. You can add to the list. The answers to these questions may be indicative of a fire risk and should be discussed at the temple/monastery/centre committee meetings for deliberation. It can potentially help save precious life.

i. Are the exits clearly marked?

ii. Is there a floor plan displayed showing exit routes or emergency doors/staircases?

iii. Are the “risky spots” identified, especially those areas in the altar where devotees offer lit candles or butter/oil lamps or places with highly flammable material (such as incense, oil, candles, etc)?

iv. Are there water sprinklers installed at those risky spots? (or, at least smoke detectors or other early warning equipment. However, take note that water sprinklers can put out fire whereas smoke detectors only give early warnings)

v. Do you have a valid fire insurance policy?

vi. Do you conduct mock fire drills at your temples/monasteries/centres?

vii. Are the doors fire resistant?

viii. Is everyone (including ordained Sanghas) educated as to fire safety prevention and what-to-do in case of a fire? Is this education being reviewed from time to time to all members?

ix. Do you have fire extinguishers at strategic spots?

x. Do you have enough water sources within or nearby to put out the fire?

note: The above should be a meaningful post to start the year. After all, saving lives is an important post, right? I feel that there have not been enough attention on fire safety aspects and measures at houses of worship. Many are potential fire hazards and fire traps in the event of fire. Do not take this lightly.

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