Does Agni (fire) need to be recognized only by an alarm?

Well, I always think about it.

Whenever I hear the fire alarm. a panic instantly sets in me.  My fight or flight responses kick in and I wanted to fight it or run away, even if I know that someone was testing.

As a child, I have seen a slum next to my home in Ooty completely gutted down within minutes.  Also, my house was located next to the government hospital and I had seen 80% burn victims.  I’ve seen men, women, and children who do not have anything left in the body even to cry or scream, on their way dying.

Events like the Bangladesh garment factory fire, the Kumbakonam school fire and the Upahaar Cinema fire in Delhi, certainly had disturbed me throughout my life.

A few years back, I was witness to another huge fire accident in Trichy next to my sister’s home.  There was huge property damage and luckily no one was injured.  That scenes of fire gutting and raising to the top floors of the houses were terrible and I wished I never would witness anything like this in my life.

After watching the movie “Only the Brave”, my respect for fire increased 100 times.
Fire scares an sh**t out of me.

Is it just me or is there anyone else out there who shares a similar feeling?

Since the time our family moved into Sobha Althea in 2013, there were only a couple of real fire incidents.  Both were an electrical fire in nature and, meters and cables had blown up in both the incidents.   The fire alarm went off on both the occasions and the security team and the electricians had responded promptly.  The fire was put off in a timely manner and there was no real damage to people.

Huh! do we really need to wake up everyone if the fire was only in the meter room?

We also receive a flash notice from the apartment facility manager about the Fire Alarm equipment checking, which usually is a well scheduled one, happens only during the mid-day and that too once in a few months.  Everyone knows the routine.  The fire alarm is triggered, someone does the testing, someone turns it off after the testing, the job is done.

Why bother everyone when the testing is done by a few people, can’t they silently do it?

Today was a different day.  At 7.30 am, the fire alarm went off. I heard it loud and clear.  It was coming from the 3rd block.  

Since there was no email from the FM, I called the security to check if this was any testing going on.   The security did not answer the phone.  This was unusual and I was worried as well as curious.   I went down.

I saw just a couple of residents on the ground floor. clearly worried about the alarm.  One gentleman said the fire alarm indication was coming from the 4th floor.  I used the stairs and ran up.  

Thank God! it was just a false alarm and one of our electricians along with a security guard was trying to reset the button. 

I was relieved to find that there was no real fire there.  It was later found that someone has mischievously pressed the fire alarm button. 


Why do we need this god damn buttons in every single floor, when pressed with or without purpose would trigger the fire alarms, create a hella lot of noise?  That too on a mid-week (holiday) day like this?

I walked back to my home quietly with lots of questions in my mind.

Fire is crazy, and it can erupt, spread, and burn everything down instantly.  What we see every single day is the quietest version of it, in our gas burners, the tip of the oil lamps, and on the candles.

How many of us really understand the nastier version of the fire, which can gobble huge towers and structures violently?

I’m sure there were easily about 50+ residents living in the 3rd block and 100+ if we combine the 1st and 2nd block.  That’s just the bare minimum residents counted.

Why were only 2-3 residents worried about the fire alarm and also followed the protocol of walking down the stairs, waiting on the ground floor?

As a community, we have always joined hands together to respond to calamities and emergencies else were, through donations and cash contributions.  Who is going to warn or protect us should something occur to us?  I can’t even imagine being part of a community that would appear as breaking news the next day.

What would have happened if there was a real fire on the 4th floor today?

Only a handful of people turned when there was a fire training organized by the Security team a month ago.  Didn’t they teach how to respond to a fire alarm?

Fire responders say 98% of the time a fire alarm is a false one.  Remember, that 2% could be a deadly one, taking away loved ones and causing huge property damages. 

Aren’t we all supposed to at least respond and see what’s happening to our neighbors?

I’ve also seen many stairways and fire hose access doors blocked with fancy shoe racks and flower pots, can we all run down calmly and safely with these obstructions on our way, in case of a real fire?

If we don’t wake up today, sooner or later a fire is going to come out knocking at our doorstep, we could be part of that 2% statistically.

Now tell me, does Agni need an alarm? 

Who has designed these alarms and for whose benefit?


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