When devastating floods hit the village of Neduvannoor in Kerala Statem, India, IOSH Chartered Member Basil George was determined to come to the aid of those who were stranded.
He led a group of 25 volunteers who swam 2.52 kilometres through the water – ignoring the risks posed by electric lines, underwater obstructions and insects – to get food and water to 75 people trapped on the third floor of a mosque.
He also created a helipad to allow a helicopter to land twice to evacuate seven people considered most at-risk, drawing on all his experience.
In his Safety4Good entry, Basil, who is a fire/safety officer for Kerala State’s Cochin International Container Freight Station, said he had to ensure “all aviation safety requirements, such as availability of helipad marking, wind direction, demarcation of location, making the helipad FOD [foreign object damage] free and creating a clear approach and take-off path”.
He added: “I carried out a dynamic as well as specific risk assessment (though not recorded) quickly in my mind based on my expertise, skill and knowledge, which was suitable and sufficient to mitigate all the foreseeable risk before undertaking missions.
“My command, coordination, control, communication and cooperation played a vital role in managing people and mobilising things in limited time as well as in an expeditious manner. People believed, united and obeyed to my words because I am a safety trainer.”
Summing up his experience, he added: “Never lose hope during a crisis. Never put your life into danger for the sake of heroism but you can take risk in some situations for saving mankind, provided you are competent to deal with all foreseeable hazards and risk and apply controls in a judicious way with the available resources.
“The event was reported as news. The article gave worldwide publicity to people that simple man can save life using his ingrained experience.”
Basil G George CMIOSH, Fire cum Safety Officer Gr 1, Cochin International Container Freight Station, Unit of KSIE, Government of Kerala, India.