Authorities fail to carry out fire safety audit
Srinagar, Jun 02: Though the state government having asked all the departments to ensure fire safety audit, it has been observed that the authorities are not taking the directives seriously and most of the departments have failed to put fire safety audit in place.
Sources told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that the government has issued 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.
However sources said that the authorities in most of the departments have failed to put fire safety audit of buildings in place.
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 authorities have 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.
Meanwhile sources said that the authorities even have 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.
The government recently has asked for identification of “major lifeline buildings” in districts and the conduct their fire safety audit within a month.
The order was 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.
It is to mention here that according to National Building Code (NBC), Fire safety mechanism depends on nature and construction of the building.
“Normally, we need fire plug, the provision of which has to be kept on the main water line. Besides, dedicated water source of 50,000 litre capacity will also be useful in extinguishing the fire,” one of the officials in Fire and emergency said.
He said it is mandatory while doing fire safety audits, the number of floors, nature of construction and height has to be taken into consideration.
The official added that “unnecessary drop gates” erected by the locals obstruct the movement of fire tenders. (KNS)