4,000 govt schools at risk, lack NOC from fire dept

It’s playing with children’s lives but the startling fact is that over 4,000 government schools in Delhi are at high fire risk since they do not have the no objection certificate from the Delhi Fire Service, said its director A K Sharma.

“These 4,000 schools not only flout rules, they also put themselves at major fire risk. None of these schools are equipped to deal with sudden fire situations owing to lack of safety gadgets,” Sharma said.

He  further added,  “This deficiency leads to the non-issuance of no objection certificates (NOC)”.

“Additionally, those schools which have the certificates, do not get them renewed. This renewal is mandatory and should be done every five years, according to the new legislation which came into existence in 2011,” he said.

“In case of a fire incident, it is the available safety equipment which come handy until the fire tenders arrive and start their work,” said Sharma.

“Hence, this especially becomes a must for those schools which are  situated in congested areas like Chandni Chowk and Chowri Bazar,” Sharma added.

There are 56 fire stations in Delhi, which house 150 fire engines and 1,300 fire fighters.
The Delhi Fire Service  (DFS) has five Innova cars well-equipped with fire fighting measures and also a few motorbikes to tackle fire  emergencies.

“We have aerial platform ladders, hydraulic cutting tools, chemical tanks, light vans, foam, rescue tenders and many more such equipments. We are in no way less than the fire fighting teams of western nations,” Sharma said.

He said though the DFS was keen on introducing the equipment to the public to make them aware, they could not, owing to the ongoing Lok Sabha poll.

Each fire audit takes around three months to be conducted, Sharma said.

Rules of inspection

Sharma also explained that the fire officials first inspect the  building, identify the lacunae, communicate the same to the building owner and then give them time to rectify it before a compliance certificate is issued.

“Our inspection team regularly carries out inspections in schools. This has led to a lot of them at least applying for the certificate,” he said.

The director adding more information, said that , before the NOCs are sanctioned, DFS ensures that all the safety measures are up to the mark.

Sharma said the DFS faces an ‘acute  shortage’ of fire-fighting personnel, which hindered smooth operations.

“Currently there is 35 per cent shortage of fire personnel in the department. Of the total capacity of 3,000, over 1,000 positions are lying vacant,” he said.

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