The motto of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides is "Be prepared". They are supposed to be prepared in mind and body to face any difficult situation.
Schools and large offices generally have/ should have a plan in place regards how to swiftly evacuate the building in an orderly way in case of fire.
People take out medical insurance to ensure that they can afford any medical expenses they may face in the future. Some take out life insurance policies so their dependents will not be left destitute in case of their death.
Any preparation for a future possible calamity has to be made in advance. No use starting preparations after the problem starts.
This is what the following Subhaashit tells us-
चिन्तनीया ही विपदामादावेव प्रतिक्रिया l
न कूपखननं युक्तं प्रदीप्ते वह्निना गृहे ll
(A person) should consider (चिन्तनीया) the consequences (प्रतिक्रिया) of any (probable)calamity before it takes place (विपदामादावेव).
It is not (न) appropriate (युक्तं) to start digging a well (कूपखननं) after the house (गृहे) has started to burn (प्रदीप्ते वह्निना).
The recent fire at the Indian Oil Company's fuel depot at Jaipur, in Rajasthan has brought forward the question of how ready we are to tackle such calamities.
This fire is exceptionally catastrophic, and experts say that there is no alternative to letting the fuel burnt itself out.
However, the state administration does not seem to have the capability to control a smaller fire, either. Training of Firemen is minimal, and equipment is out-of-date.
Funds have been sanctioned from various governments schemes. "But the conditions are still the same and the fire vans are used to supply water for government functions or to fill the tanks of officers and politicians," says a source.
'Sources also reveal a snorkel ladder costing Rs 5 crore was sanctioned to Jaipur in 2001 by the Centre to control fire in huge buildings, but the municipality brought other equipment with that money.'
The situation is not likely to be different in other states. The recent fire at Thane, here in Maharashtra, where six Firemen tragically suffocated to death as they took an elevator to reach a burning apartment on the 14th floor shows such lack of training.
The government would do well to insist upon modern equipment and regular and intensive training, if such tragedies are to be averted in future.