Empowered panel on fire safety in buildings sought

Empowered panel on fire safety in buildings sought

Compliance with National Building Code inevitable

Empowered panel on fire safety in buildings sought

In an effort to ensure efficient inspection of buildings to check whether they strictly adhere to fire safety norms, as also prior to renewal of their licences, the State Fire department has proposed setting up of an empowered panel for the same.

According to Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services, since its current staff are engaged in multi-tasking and effectively devote their energies to this serious issue, the department has sought such a panel, which will have in place a team specially for the purpose.

Observing that fire safety remains one of the most neglected concerns among the citizens, Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department Director B G Chengappa, rued that the basic tendency among realtors — residential or commercial, is to extract maximum building space out of every bit of land available without providing for emergency exits.

In this regard, he further pointed out that, it was imperative to make the National Building Code (NBC) for fire safety a stringent, enforceable legislation than a statutory guideline, which the realtors are wont to tweak to suit their business interests.

Not much done

Citing the example of Carlton Towers fire mishap which had claimed nine lives, Chengappa pointed out that even after three years of the tragedy, not much has been done towards fire safety issues, while, the blame is conveniently pinned on Fire department, citing it as its incapacity to fight fires effectively. 

The anguished outpouring of the City fire chief came at the memorial service for the victims, organised by the Beyond Carlton, which as a token of its appreciation, presented awards to four fire personnel — Suryaprakash, P Krishnappa, N Raghu and Ashwathnarayana -- drawn from various fire fighting wings of the department from different parts of the City for their exemplary service, while saving property and lives of people. Beyond Carlton is an association of the families of the victims who suffered on account of the tragedy.

Uday Vijayan, father of Akhil Uday, a victim of Carlton Towers fire, stressed the need to educate the general public on the various legislations such as National Building Code and to demand from their property owners the fire safety norms of their constructions.

Lackadaisical attitude

Stressing that the lackadaisical attitude among both the public and realtors needs to change, Vijayan regretted that currently the general awareness on fire safety as also on preparedness to deal with such eventualities was absymally low or totally absent.

In his presentation on “Urbanisation and Fire Safety,” fire safety consultant R A Venkitachalam explained that a majority of people unknowingly subscribe to high combustible home furnitures such as polymer curtains, carpets, non-standard insulated or exposed wiring.

The modern mattress alone is equivalent to four litres of fuel that can easily turn even a minor fire incident into a major mishap. He hoped people keen on furnishing their homes would look into fire safety issues before doing so.

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