Can we enlist religious institutions in the cause to promote fire safety?
As part of my Beyond Carlton Memorial Lecture at the headquarters of the Karnataka Fire and Emergency Services last night, I engaged in some loud thinking on why Indians (maybe others too, but I’m primarily concerned about Indians) have a cavalier attitude towards safety.
This is an archived blog post from The Acorn on Medium.
In the following chart, we see that not only do Indians under-invest in insurance, we are below the trend line when compared to other countries in the same income group.
As the second chart (below) shows, insurance penetration among motorists, home owners, SMEs and corporates is below world averages.
Why might this be the case?
We are obviously looking at a Mahatma Grade Problem: too big and too complex for mere public policy to solve. Yet, there might be some ideas from behavioural economics and psychology that could inform public policy solutions.
Among the eight ideas I discussed last evening was this one: what if religious leaders and places of worship are enlisted in building awareness on fire safety and risk management?
If religious leaders encourage people to install fire safety equipment, organise fire drills and promote insurance, we could perhaps use existing social beliefs to change habits.
Given political sensitivities & constraints, fire departments might be reluctant to partner religious institutions: but citizens’ groups interested in promoting fire safety do not face similar constraints.
It’s worth a try.
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