A fun way to raise fire safety awareness
Among the innumerable stalls and pavilions at this year's Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela, you might spot an unusual stall where individuals in uniform are giving instructions about what to do in case of burn injuries.
"People usually want to put ice cubes directly on the injured area to ease pain, and it might even instantly provide relief," said Sohag, an official of Fire Service and Civil Defence. "But in reality, doing so causes damage to your skin and slows down the healing process. Therefore, normal water will do the trick."
Sohag was informing about fire safety to those who were coming to their stall on Monday. For the first time at the fair, fire service has set up their own stall on Suhrawardy Udyan to raise awareness about fire safety measures and medical emergencies.
The stall is beside their camp (adjacent to the children's corner), and from there they will monitor the premises for the entire month of February.
At the stall, they are selling books related to fire safety measures, earthquake awareness, safety during lightning and thunderstorm, and basic first aid and medical emergencies. Besides those, it also has technical books on chemicals and their different usage, search and rescue, and precautionary measures if a vessel catches fire -- all written by firefighters.
Eight books have been published, four for children and the rest for adults and professionals.
One of the authors, Mir Amirul Islam, also a fire service station officer, said, "I particularly wrote books for children to make them aware of dangers of fire and other hazardous elements. If we can teach children from now, they will be prepared for medical emergencies in future."
An extended part of the stall has a room where anyone can play a game called "3D Fire Simulation" by buying a ticket for Tk 10. In the game, the player has to douse fire with a dummy extinguisher in their hands, as instructions pop up on the screen.
"Most people don't know that they need to call 999 if a fire breaks out. Through this game, they learnt such important information," said Amirul.
Such initiative is drawing attention of children and parents alike. While children are having fun playing the game, parents are appreciating fire service's endeavour.
"We haven't seen such an initiative before; it's a very good step. Most adults are not aware of these subjects, let alone children," said Zahirul Haque, a private job holder who bought books for his 12-years-old son Akash.
"The game was fun. Now I know how to use an extinguisher and where I should call when things get out of control," said Akash with the newly bought books in his hand.
According to camp and stall staffers, this initiative is the brainchild of Abdul Momin, assistant director (training) of fire service.
Contacted, Abdul said, "We wanted to spread fire safety awareness among all, particularly children and women. Therefore, the book fair was the only place where we could draw their attention."
"This is a first time for us. In abroad, fire service officials teach children fire safety, which is very important. Therefore, we also wanted to popularise the whole initiative here," he added.