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Alarming number of buildings breaking fire safety code

Image Source: The Hindu

By Karen Noronha

Bangalore, Oct 6:Around one lakh buildings lack fire safety measures in Bangalore, according to the Fire Department of Government of Karnataka.

Sanjay Vijayaraghavan, a mechanical engineer at an MNC firm said, “There should be proper co-ordination between BBMP and the state's Fire and Emergency Service department to check for fire safety in high rises.”

The Section 13 of Karnataka Fire Service Act 1964 states that buildings of 15meters and above in height in respect to high rise buildings need to have fire and emergency services. Due to negligence of builders, the lives of people are put at risk.

As per the new norms, to get plan sanction, builders should submit a NOC from the Fire department to BBMP. The existing high rise buildings which do not have a NOC and BBMP's Commencement Certificate will be cleared only if there are no violations. Even then they have to pay four times the current government fee as penalty.

As per the Code of Practice for Fire Safety of Buildings the following measures are required:

  • Fire Extinguishers are required at prominent places.
  • Hose reel, Wet Riser, Down comer, Sprinkler systems, courtyard hydrant, Smoke and Fire Alarm System (manual or automatic) may be required.
  • Underground static water storage tank is required (depending on the type of the building) with a corresponding water pump.
  • A separate terrace tank is required to store water to fight fire;  along with a corresponding booster pump on the terrace.

“Most buildings in Bangalore have fire safety measures, but are not maintained. During emergency they do not work and create more damage till we arrive” said a fire officer at the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department.

“There are about 162 permanent Fire Station Buildings in Bangalore which is not enough with the growing areas of Bangalore” says a fireman at the Karnataka Fire Service.

Details of Fire Calls attended in 2014-2015, Government of Karnataka

 

2014

2015

Total No. of calls attended

16,441

15,243

Property Involved (In Lakhs)

10,66,76,29,459

8,33,15,83,963

Property Saved (In Lakhs)

8,32,47,74,719

6,67,20,33,754

Human Lives Saved

434

398

Swapan Kumar Bandopadhyay an Executive Committee Member of  Institution of Fire Engineers, UK (Eastern India Branch) says, “Though the numbers have decreased in the year 2015 as compared to 2014, there is not much drastic change which is still a big issue. The department is in a process of developing e-services with the help of e-governance department under Karnataka State Wide Area Network program which will help issue no-objection certificates to various agencies and issue different types of reports to public and private agencies.”

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