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Faulty wiring blamed for frequent fire incidents in the country

Published : Friday, 23 February, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 311

Faulty wiring blamed for frequent fire incidents in the country

Faulty wiring blamed for frequent fire incidents in the country

Bangladesh, especially its capital Dhaka, has witnessed many devastating fire incidents in recent years. One of the main causes of these fires is faulty or improper electrical wiring, which can lead to short circuits and sparks. In this article, we will explore how faulty wiring can cause fire hazards, what are the existing regulations and challenges in ensuring safe electrical systems, and what steps the government and the public can take to prevent such incidents.

Faulty wiring is a condition where the electrical wiring in a building is not installed or maintained properly, leading to potential risks of fire and electrical shock. Faulty wiring can occur due to various reasons, such as using low-quality or damaged wires, switches, sockets, or plugs, overloading the electrical circuits or outlets with too many appliances or devices, connecting wires without proper insulation or grounding, mixing different types of wires or using wrong sizes or colors of wires, or altering or extending the existing wiring without professional guidance or approval. Faulty wiring can result in a short circuit, which is a situation where the electrical current flows through an unintended, shorter pathway instead of following the intended circuit. This can happen if, for example, a wire is loose or exposed, or if two wires touch each other without a load in between. These conditions create a path of least resistance, leading to high current flow, which can generate heat, sparks, and fire.

To prevent electrical fires, it is important to ensure that the building is properly grounded and that all appliances have their own ground wires connected to them. Additionally, circuit breakers, ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) can help prevent fire and electrical shock by detecting changes in electrical current flow and breaking the circuit connection when an irregularity is detected.

In Bangladesh, the construction of buildings is regulated by the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC), which was first published in 1993 to maintain and uphold certain standards in building construction. The BNBC provides guidelines for proper construction practices, including electrical wiring. According to the BNBC, the electrical wiring in a building should follow the specifications and standards of the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

However, compliance with these regulations can vary. While the regulatory body, RAJUK (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha), monitors if a project has been constructed according to the BNBC and the Building Construction Act in the Bangladesh Gazette 2008, there may still be instances of non-compliance or violation. Some of the challenges in ensuring safe electrical systems are lack of awareness or negligence among the building owners, contractors, electricians, or users about the importance and benefits of proper electrical wiring, lack of enforcement or inspection by the authorities or the utility companies to check the quality and safety of the electrical wiring in the buildings, lack of accountability or penalty for the violators or offenders who do not follow the regulations or standards of electrical wiring, lack of availability or affordability of quality electrical materials or equipment in the market, and lack of training or certification for the electricians or technicians who install or maintain the electrical wiring in the buildings.

The government of Bangladesh, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has taken several initiatives to provide electricity to all the people of the country, which is a commendable and praiseworthy work. The government has also launched several projects to improve the power generation, transmission, and distribution systems in the country, such as the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the Rampal Coal Power Plant, the Payra Sea Port Power Plant, and the Padma Bridge Power Transmission Project. These projects aim to increase the power supply and reduce the power outage in the country.

However, the government also needs to pay attention to the fact that faulty wiring is a major cause of fire incidents in the country, and take necessary measures to prevent such incidents. Some of the steps that the government can take are strengthening the enforcement and inspection mechanisms to ensure that the buildings follow the BNBC and the BSTI/IEC standards of electrical wiring, imposing strict penalties or sanctions for the violators or offenders who do not comply with the regulations or standards of electrical wiring, providing subsidies or incentives for the building owners or contractors who use quality electrical materials or equipment in their projects, launching awareness campaigns or programs to educate the public about the importance and benefits of proper electrical wiring and the risks and consequences of faulty wiring, and developing training or certification programs for the electricians or technicians who install or maintain the electrical wiring in the buildings.

By following these steps, the government and the public can work together to ensure safe and secure electrical systems in the buildings, and prevent fire incidents caused by faulty wiring. This will not only save lives and property, but also contribute to the development and progress of the country.

According to the Director General of Fire Service and Civil Defense, Brigadier General Md Main Uddin, there are more than 21,000 fire incidents annually in the country, and about 40% of those are caused by electrical short-circuits. Some of the examples of these fire incidents are the FR Tower fire in Banani, the Chawkbazar fire in Old Dhaka, and the Nimtoli fire in Old Dhaka, which killed hundreds of people and injured many more.

These examples show that faulty wiring is one of the major reasons for short circuits and fire incidents in Bangladesh. Therefore, it is very important to ensure proper electrical wiring and safety measures in the buildings.

The writer is a Former ICCR Scholar, Columnist, Researcher, and holds a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from NIT Durgapur, India

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