Nearly 40 per cent of visitors to hospitals, airports, shopping malls and office buildings in major cities in India were unaware of the location of fire exits, according to a recent joint study by Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) and Honeywell Life Safety (HLS), India.
It also came to fore that more than one in four people do not follow appropriate fire evacuation procedures in the event of an alarm and about 80 per cent of visitors were not aware of fire alarm procedures, indicating a lack of visible signage and instructions.
The study, conducted to raise awareness of the important role that the public plays in fire safety, also showed lack of training or awareness among the workers and visitors to these facilities.
Around 50 per cent of the workers, working in the such places, have not participated in a fire drill or other safety training exercise.
"The situation gets much worse in homes where 85 per cent of the respondents said their residence lacked a fire alarm system or detection device," Harish Vellat, Regional Director, Honeywell Life Safety India said while releasing the study.
"While almost all of those surveyed said they had fire alarm systems in place, there was a deep lack of awareness of the steps that should be taken if a fire or other critical issue occurs," Vellat said.
The survey was conducted in May in eight cities -- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi, Pune, Bhubaneswar and Indore. It also found that in hospitals, nearly 40 per cent of employees were unaware of fire evacuation procedures.
"Fire safety awareness is a crucial factor in avoiding fire-related incidents, and businesses, workers and visitors to their facilities need to equip themselves with basic safety knowledge, as well as ensure that the systems protecting them are appropriately designed for the risk they are protecting against," Vellat said.
Giving details about the study, Mani Pradhan, Senior Research Manager (IMRB) said survey respondents included employees and visitors of airports, shopping malls, hotels and corporate office buildings and belong to socio-economic classification (SEC) A1 and A2 categories.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were a total of 24,232 deaths in 2010-11, or 6.3 per cent of total deaths in India, due to fire accidents.