Srinagar, Mar 10: Though the instructions were issued by the Disaster Management department and Chief Secretary of the state to all the government departments, to identify major lifeline buildings for fire safety audit, it has been observed that the authorities are not taking the directives seriously and most of the departments have failed to identify the buildings.
The order had been issued by Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (MRRRD), department of J&K government, and sent to Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Chairpersons of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).
“All DCs and Chairpersons of DDMA shall identify major lifeline buildings, including important offices, hospitals, shopping mall centres schools, colleges and universities within their districts and ensure their fire safety audit ,”reads the order.
However sources told KNS that though the instruction was issued by the DCs to all the departments, but the authorities in most of the departments have failed to identify the buildings for immediate fire safety audit.
Sources said that in the backdrop of the historic buildings remaining vulnerable, people across the state have been calling upon the government for safety and fire audit of all such structures of public importance. Besides, other buildings in the state like hospitals, schools, offices, shopping malls.
Governor N.N. Vohra had also asked the chief secretary, to issue immediate instructions to all deputy commissioners in the state to have an immediate fire safety audit conducted, particularly in regard to hospitals, shopping centres, malls, and seal all premises which have the risk of catching fire, collapsing etc.
Sources said that baring a few, the government hospitals, buildings and educational institutes in the state lack fire fighting system thus endangering the lives of thousands of people. “Most of the educational institutions in Kashmir have no fire safety mechanism in place. Generally, educational institutions have been categorized as less hazardous, which means that they are less prone to fire outbreaks. However, it is essential that they follow the prescribed guidelines of the fire and safety department,” sources maintained.
Similarly sources said that SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura which caters health care needs of a vast number of patients, has no proper fire safety mechanism while the government has failed to conduct Fire Safety Audit of the district hospitals in the state.
Sources said that officials of Fire and Emergency Department are often giving their recommendations about how the building or a house should be designed to make it fire resistant, but nobody is adhering recommendations as there is no enforcing agency in the state.
Sources said that the urgent need is a Fire safety audit at all government buildings, hospitals, educational institutions Malls. “The fire safety measures at places particularly with electrical installations should be reviewed. In most places, organizers and management install a few fire extinguishers in the name of fire safety. However, under Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act this is not the only requirement,” sources said.
Sources said that authorties even has failed to conduct fire safety audit of religious places. During five years it has been seen that several fire incidents have taken place in religious places. (KNS)