Fire dept OK must for eateries in smaller buildings too

Fire dept OK must for eateries in smaller buildings too

DH file photo for representation.

The Fire and Emergency Services Department has decided to make fire licences mandatory for all bars, pubs, restaurants and eateries even if they are not high-rises.

Sunil Agarwal ADGP (Fire) told DH that the department has already issued notices to 84 bars, pubs, restaurants and eateries which are situated in buildings less than 15 metres high, asking them to follow fire safety measures.

Agarwal added that the fire department has decided to adopt the Mumbai (Maharashtra) model where it is mandatory for every eatery to obtain permission from the fire department. In Mumbai, the fire department works under the civic body and not under the state government. This model makes sense since eateries have to take permission from the civic body.

“Any eatery which has a kitchen is a high-risk zone, as it was proven in the Mumbai resto-bar fire on December 29, 2017. In Bengaluru, the fire department has a say only for buildings which are more than 15 metres high, which are considered high-rises,” said Agarwal. But the same risk exists in buildings less than 15 metres high and those with rooftop bars and restaurants said, Agarwal. “There are highly inflammable materials on rooftops and evacuation and rescue are high-risk operations,” he added.

“The fire department had already scheduled a meeting with the Excise, BBMP and the police commissioner but we had to postpone it since we had to rush to Kodagu due to the floods. But we will soon reschedule the meeting and work out a plan on how to go about it.

According to the new rules, the eateries should have fire extinguishers, fire exits and other safety measures. We are in the process of listing out the requirements for the eateries,” he said.

Dr Manoranjan Hegde, chief health officer (BBMP) said, “There are around 4,000 licensed eateries in Bengaluru city, including star hotels and darshinis. We don’t check if they have fire clearances if they are not high-rises. Our officials don’t visit to these hotels or restaurants during the annual renewal of licences. If fire safety is made mandatory for all these eateries, more than half of them will have to shut down since most of them have no fire exits.”