Substandard electronic devices are responsible for 36 per cent of fire incidents caused by short circuits.
Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense annual reports say that it responded to at least 70,221 fire incidents in the last four years since 2014 in which 676 people were killed, 3,031 injured and property worth Tk 1,904 crore damaged.
Dhaka University Electrical and Electronic Engineering professor Zahid Hasan Mahmood says that the substandard electronic tools, mainly cable, cause fire after short-circuits which is caused when a device gets heated failing to conduct required electricity load.
Zahid said the government agencies should ensure standard at both production as well as consumer level.
He said a large number of fire incidents could be avoided by installing proper circuit breakers and planned wearing.
Fire service report said that at least 6,690 fires out of 18,105 originated from short circuit in 2017.
At least 45 people were killed and 284 injured and property worth Tk137 crore damaged in the year.
Experts have blamed Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution grossly for failing to ensure quality and check marketing of fake products.
They think that if the government agency could strongly monitor the standard of electric goods in two stages — production and import stage and marketing stage — number of fire incidents would reduce.
Fire service director general Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Khan told New Age that not only substandard appliances, but also faulty process of house wearing, increased use of electric appliances and others caused short circuit.
‘Electric audit should be introduced to check fire incidents from short circuits,’ Ali Ahmed Khan suggested.
BSTI officials say that
they have so far set standard for 25 products including different types of plugs, sockets, copper wires, cords, cables, lamps, fans and batteries imposing ban on marketing and importing the utensils without BSTI certificates.
BSTI certification marks wing assistant director Arafat Hossain Sarker said that there were a number of products, including refrigerator, photocopier, air-condition, washing machine, oven and rice cooker, still out of their monitoring network.
He said their drives against the substandard products were continuing but failed to check marketing of such products because of their high demand.
‘Without public awareness marketing of substandard products will not be stopped,’ he told New Age.
Deputy general manager (production) of BBS Cables Ltd Md Akhtaruzzaman said that electricity conductivity of a cable depended on copper. Minimum 100 per cent copper was recommended for good cable.
He said vested quarters used to make fake cables illegally using waste copper and market them at a cheap rate, he said.
On January 22, BSTI in cooperation with Rapid Action Battalion seized cables worth Tk 5 crore from a six-storey building at Nababpur in the capital.
A huge number of machines used for producing fake cables of different brands including BRB, Paradise, Poly, BBS, Super Shine and even government-owned brand Eastern Cables, were also recovered in the drive, said BSTI officials.
BSTI officials said still many more companies continued such fake tools production dodging BSTI.
DMCH burn unit’s resident surgeon Partha Sankar Pall told New Age that every day they were providing treatments for around 200 patients, mostly victims of fire caused by short circuit.
The fire service found 20 causes behind fire and of them short circuits were independently responsible for 36 per cent incidents.
Fire service in 2016 responded to a total of 16,858 fire incidents. At least 63 people were killed and 266 injured in the incidents which damaged properties and goods worth Tk240 crore.
In the year, 39 per cent of fires (6,516 incidents) originated from short circuits while the second highest number of incidents, 20 per cent, was caused by kitchen fire, according to the report.
In 2015, at least 244 people were killed 1,077 injured in 17,488 fires which damaged property worth Tk 857 crore.
At least 5,923 fires originated from short circuit in the period.
At least 324 people were killed and 1,404 injured in 17,830 fire incidents in 2014 which damaged property worth Tk 359.
During several visits New Age found sellers marketing fake electric products without any interruptions.
Vendors at Gulistan and others parts of the capital are seen selling fake compact fluorescent lights and light emitting diode bulb every day under the very nose of law-enforcement agencies without any interruption.
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