Pub-hoppers raise serious safety concerns

Pub-hoppers raise serious safety concerns

Pub-hoppers raise serious safety concerns

Unnerved by the Mumbai rooftop fire, pub hoppers in Bengaluru are now more aware of their surroundings, more observant of the safety rules. This came across clearly as DH went around the city to get a pulse of what they really feel.

Shrey Jani, a student this newspaper spoke to at Easy Tiger on Church Street, notes that there are absolutely no safety measures in most pubs and bars in the city. Let alone inbuilt fire safety measures, he cannot even recall seeing a fire extinguisher exhibited prominently at any of the pubs and bars he has been to.

At another pub on M G Road, Prateek, a businessman is convinced that safety norms are not followed at all. This, he says, is bad for customers if an incident does occur. However, this glaring gap does not stop people from going to bars.

Suresh Eswar, a Chief Executive Officer at a bar in Koramangala laments, "None of the resto-bars have fire safety. In fact there needs to be more awareness on fire safety information such as emergency exits, fire extinguishers and other measures in place to tackle a fire."

He says there should be a fire safety and rescue plan at every establishment, and this must be shared with the customers. "Fire safety drills must be done with bar employees and they must know how to react and what to do in case of a fire. But this is also a responsibility of all stakeholders and not just the establishment owners," adds Eswar.

Another regular pub-goer, business manager Amitabh Satyam says, "fire safety regulations must be better implemented and authorities must carry through with enforcing it effectively." Otherwise, he warns, customer safety will be seriously compromised. "The government must not do this on an ad-hoc basis and should follow through the enforcement part consistently."

Echoing similar sentiments, Judy notes: "It is the establishment's duty and responsibility to protect its customers. As of now we are not well prepared and very few places have fire safety."

Giving his perspective as a risk engineer, Ujjwal Kumar talks about the need for splinkers and other inbuilt safety measures. The entire country and not just Bengaluru is severely lagging behind in this regard. Usage of fire resistant materials, he notes, will go a long way in minimising the fallout.

But in many establishments, aesthetics is given priority over public safety. Evacuation drills are a must to educate people on what they must do in case of a fire to avoid chaos, says Kumar.

Outside Three Dots and a Dash, a popular outlet in Indiranagar, Amazon executive Nikita offers more insights: "Bars and Pubs are ill prepared. I have been to many pubs and bars in Bengaluru, but don't see any fire safety equipment. And even if any bar has a fire extinguisher, if it is not visible, then what's the use?"

Visibility and ease of access to fire safety measures are equally important, she notes. "Also, many of these places have a lot of wooden walls which will catch fire easily. There is also a complete lack of fire exits in most places. Public awareness on fire safety is very low."

The State fire and emergency services department must also focus on educating the public apart from enforcing these measures. "The scariest part is we don't even know how to react in case of a fire," observes Nikita.

Rajeshwari, who works in the retail industry feels that, "No matter where you go, be it a bar, pub or restaurant, it's the responsibility of every single person and not just the government and the owner. But the government must take the initiative on fire safety drills and proper education on fire safety as the layman's knowledge on such things is very minimal."

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